Product development lifeline from UK innovation centre

Medical technology companies offered support to develop individualised medical products

The partnership has already helped to develop new individualised breast prostheses technology and is now looking to support other innovations

The innovation consultancy behind a revolutionary new breast prosthesis is throwing a lifeline to UK MedTech firms looking to develop state-of-the-art new medical products.

The Patient-Specific Medical Design Centre is a unique knowledge transfer organisation that helps organisations develop a competitive advantage through the introduction of services and products that are tailored to individual patient needs.

The group was set up by the National Centre for Product Design and Development Research (PDR) at Cardiff Metropolitan University and is supported by clinical partnerships such as the Centre for Applied Reconstructive Technologies in Surgery (CARTIS).

And most recently the team has helped to develop a new technology providing patients with more realistic and better-fitting breast prostheses.

This technique has also illustrated how computer-aided methods are able to offer a cost-effective alternative to the traditional labour-intensive techniques by reducing the length of patient consultations and number of patient visits, while also providing a more flexible and repeatable method of working

The technique produces breast patterns and tools which in turn produce a silicon prosthesis bespoke to each patient through the use of advanced digital design and manufacturing processes.

The prostheses are based on the remaining breast shape where possible and help patients to maintain a natural posture by restoring the missing breast weight, while providing a more secure fit.

It is hoped the technique will help prevent post mastectomy posture problems and, crucially, increase the confidence and quality of life of patients.

Dr Peter Dorrington, industry lead at the Patient-Specific Design Centre, said: “This project demonstrates the benefits of combining PDR’s patient-specific product design and development technologies and expertise with the unmet needs of clinicians such as, in this case, the breast care team, and maxillofacial prosthetists, which have led to this revolutionary new technique.

“The technology provides patients with a bespoke breast prosthesis, rather than having an off-the-shelf product. This could prove hugely important to post-mastectomy patients, particularly in terms of their overall wellbeing and confidence levels, which is a vital element of the recovery process.

Such is the success of this project, and others we are currently working on, we’re now very keen to talk to other companies who are looking for assistance in developing their medical products. This could include anything from custom-fitting prostheses, through to rehabilitation aids and contoured seating

“This technique has also illustrated how computer-aided methods are able to offer a cost-effective alternative to the traditional labour-intensive techniques by reducing the length of patient consultations and number of patient visits, while also providing a more flexible and repeatable method of working.”

The team is now calling for more companies to come forward with a view to developing individualised medical products. Dr Dorrington said: “Such is the success of this project, and others we are currently working on, we’re now very keen to talk to other companies who are looking for assistance in developing their medical products. This could include anything from custom-fitting prostheses, through to rehabilitation aids and contoured seating.”

For more information, call 02920 417233

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