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Quebec to Open Its First Medical 3D Printing Center

Quebec is about to become a bigger presence on the 3D printing map, as the province’s government has agreed to provide $2,983,800 for the development and implementation of a new medical 3D printing center. The establishment of the center is the focus of a collaborative, $3,729,750 project between the Quebec Industrial Research Center (CRIQ) and the CHU of Québec-Université Laval, which is the largest specialty care center in Quebec and one of the largest in Canada.

The CRIQ was established to make the province more competitive through innovation – and innovation will certainly be a large part of the new medical center, which will focus on the production of 3D printed, customized prosthetics and bioprinted tissue, as well as research into the bioprinting of functional human organs.

François Blais [Image: Simon Clark]

“This promising partnership between the CRIQ and the CHU of Québec-Université Laval will make Capitale-Nationale and Quebec leaders in the manufacture of 3D prostheses and specialized medical equipment,” said François Blais, Minister of Employment and Social Solidarity and Minister responsible for the Capitale-Nationale region. “Patients will benefit first and foremost from the innovations that will result from this new center. I am convinced that sharing the expertise of the CRIQ and the CHU of Québec-Université Laval will contribute to the success of this promising project.”

According to Denis Hardy, CEO of the CRIQ, Quebec has long been dependent on foreign products, and the new medical center will allow the province to become more autonomous in terms of health care. For the last five years, the CRIQ has been exploring 3D printing, he said, and the center now offers 3D printing services that include feasibility studies, prototyping, and short-run production. CRIQ will combine its 3D printing knowledge with the CHU’s medical expertise to form a powerhouse of technology and medicine.

“We will have the opportunity to work with the surgeons at the CHU de Québec-Université Laval to develop new medical applications,” said Hardy. “Collaboration between our organizations is a unique opportunity to innovate to advance health care. The complementary nature of the expertise of CRIQ and the CHU of Québec-Université Laval is a key factor that gives every chance of success to such a project.”

Medical 3D printing isn’t new to Quebec, or the CHU for that matter – according to Dr. Gaston Bernier, dentist/oncologist at CHU, the hospital system has already used the technology to 3D print metal bars to rebuild the jaws of patients with cancer. In his opinion, medical 3D printing signals a “game change,” separating modern medicine into two eras: medicine before 3D printing, and medicine after 3D printing.

Although the province will benefit financially from greater autonomy in medical production, as well as a position at the forefront of technological innovation, it’s ultimately the patients who will benefit the most from what the new 3D printing medical center can offer.

“3D printing will enable the medicine of tomorrow to open previously inaccessible fields of application,” said Gertrude Bourdon, President and CEO of Québec-Université Laval University Hospital. “For our patients, this means increased comfort and shorter surgery thanks to custom-made prostheses and possible access to new surgeries that were previously unattainable. For our medical teams, this reduces intervention time and costs, facilitates fitting of prostheses and reduces the risks associated with medical interventions.”

The establishment of the medical 3D printing center fits into a larger economic plan, introduced in May of this year, called the Quebec Research and Innovation Strategy 2017-2022 – Daring to innovate. The plan aims to make Quebec one of the most innovative and creative locations in the world by 2030. You can learn more about the Quebec Research and Innovation Strategy here. Discuss in the Quebec forum at 3DPB.com.