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Launch of the 3D anatomical reconstruction laboratory, the only facility of its kind in Canada

November 17, 2020
Location :
Québec


Contact :
Annie Morin, Communication Officer, 418-808-3775

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Québec, November 17th, 2020 – Investissement Québec – CRIQ and the CHU de Québec – Université Laval are proud to present the 3D anatomical reconstruction laboratory (Laboratoire de reconstruction anatomique 3D or LARA 3D), a unique infrastructure that gives Québec leading-edge equipment and advanced expertise for the manufacture of patient-specific implantable prostheses thanks to the use of 3D imaging, modelling and manufacturing technologies.

This project was made possible by the exceptional collaboration between an applied industrial research centre, Investissement Québec – CRIQ, and a university hospital centre, the CHU de Québec–Université Laval, with the participation of SOVAR, an organization dedicated to the emergence, development and deployment of responsible technological and social innovations stemming from cutting-edge research.

To date, the partners have invested just over $8 million to purchase 3D printers and specialized equipment, set up research spaces, design and manufacture the first prototypes, conduct usability tests and launch the approval process for new products with a view to their commercialization.

The Québec government contributed $3,477,873 from the research infrastructure financing component of its Research Support program.

Innovative products to benefit patients

The first innovation to emerge from LARA 3D is an implantable mandibular reconstruction plate for people with oral cancer affecting the jawbone. 3D printing, or additive manufacturing, makes it possible to solve the conformity problems encountered with industrial prostheses, which are standardized for a typical patient and therefore never perfectly adapted to individuals.

An implant can now be custom-designed based on internal imaging of the patient to match the unique contours of the bone to be repaired. It is manufactured from biocompatible metals using 3D printing by powder bed fusion with a laser or electron beam. LARA 3D also has specialized equipment that can be used to finish products, ensure their quality and traceability, and clean and sterilize them before they are delivered to the medical team.

The ISO 13485 certification process is under way to ensure that the development and manufacturing of specific prostheses meets the strictest quality requirements for the production of medical devices. At the same time, work is continuing in anticipation of applying for a licence from Health Canada, with the aim of being the first Canadian manufacturer to have approval of a 3D-printed implantable medical device.

The use of additive manufacturing for the production of orthopedic prostheses will raise the quality of care in Québec. The time spent in surgery, and therefore the associated costs, will decrease. In addition, since the implant is a better fit and more comfortable, patients will recover faster.

Private-sector involvement

The entire additive manufacturing sector in Québec, with its companies specializing in modelling, powder production and 3D printing, will benefit from LARA 3D’s equipment and expertise and will be able to participate in advancing know-how and techniques. Alkom Digital (orthopedic screw manufacturing) and AP&C (production of metal powders for 3D printing) are already partnering in the implantable mandibular plate project.

At the core of a new hub of Québec expertise in medical 3D printing, LARA 3D will make it possible to design and produce other orthopedic implants in partnership with the private sector and will foster the creation of very high-quality specialized jobs.

To learn more about LARA 3D, watch this video.

“Very high-tech infrastructures are essential to ensure high-quality, effective and competitive research. They also enhance our ability to attract and retain high-calibre researchers. With the creation of the 3D anatomical reconstruction laboratory, Québec researchers have achieved another landmark, confirming our research centres’ competitive position internationally. The Québec government is reaffirming its commitment to support collaborative research and innovation, particularly in the medical field, since the results should improve not only health professionals’ work but also patients’ quality of life.”

Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of Economy and Innovation

“Medical 3D printing will significantly change hospitals by facilitating difficult reconstruction surgery, reducing both operating time and patients’ recovery time, and making it possible to produce custom implants at accessible costs. As a leader in additive manufacturing in Québec, Investissement Québec – CRIQ is proud to open up new possibilities, not only for the health care sector but for the Québec’s entire 3D printing ecosystem, because this infrastructure will also enable other companies to develop their own expertise and innovative products.”

Lyne Dubois, Vice President, Investissement Québec – CRIQ

“Innovation is one of the core values of the CHU de Québec–Université Laval, and advances in medical 3D printing are concrete examples of the scope of our clinical research mission and ensure that we are constantly expanding the boundaries of science. We’re very proud of this personalized medicine project piloted by Gaston Bernier’s team and our partners at Investissement Québec – CRIQ, who took on this adventure for the benefit of our patients.”

Martin Beaumont, President and CEO, CHU de Québec – Université Laval

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