Making Breakthroughs in Multiple Sclerosis with 3D Printing
At the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, a neuroimmunologist by the name of Dr. Darin T. Okuda has developed a method to accurately identify multiple sclerosis lesions in the brain using 3D printing. Previously, such lesions were identified through MRI and were defined by a set of vague and often inaccurate characteristics.
Using MakerBot’s suite of desktop 3D printers, Okuda and his team replicated over a thousand brain lesions and after evaluating the shape and surface features, refined his method until the 3D models resembled the real thing. Today, Dr. Okuna’s work represents the first scientific effort to study brain lesions resulting from multiple sclerosis in an actual 3D form.
Not only was Dr. Okuda able to define unique shapes and surface characteristics associated with the disease, they were also able to improve upon conventional approaches for studying lesions in actual form.
MakerBot’s 3D printers allowed the team to rapidly redefine the way clinicians identify multiple sclerosis lesions through iterations of 3D printing and distinguish them from other white matter lesions that result from migraine headaches, high blood pressure, and natural aging.
In his role as the Director of NeuroInnovation, Dr. Okuda is obsessed with using technology to advance diagnosis and treatment in his field.
Dr. Okuda elaborates and says “being able to feel and see 3D printed lesions in your hand is very different from looking at them on a screen, even if you’re looking at a 3D model. This is as important for artificial intelligence researchers and healthcare providers as it is for patients- holding an accurate representation of a MS brain lesion both before and after treatment has unmatched explanatory power”.