The partnership will enable the production of customised phantoms, which are used to evaluate the performance of CT scanners, and help create ultra-realistic human anatomy characteristics with complete radiographic accuracy of patient-specific pathology


3D printing may improve outcomes by providing 3D modelling. (Credit: Business Wire)

Israel-based polymer 3D printing solutions provider Stratasys and German healthcare company Siemens Healthineers have partnered on a research project to advance medical imaging.

The joint research project aims to develop new solutions for the advancement of medical imaging phantoms for computed tomography (CT) imaging.

Phantoms are specialised devices used to evaluate the performance of CT scanners.

They are designed to simulate certain characteristics of the human body to facilitate the measurement of various core metrics, such as radiation dose and image quality.

The partnership will leverage Stratasys’ PolyJet technology, together with its RadioMatrix technology, and Siemens Healthineers’ advanced scanning algorithm.

Siemens Healthineers’ algorithm is designed to translate scanned patient images into specific material characteristics with radiopacity of human anatomy.

The research programme would enable the production of customised phantoms and help create ultra-realistic human anatomy characteristics with complete radiographic accuracy of patient-specific pathology.

Stratasys medical vice president Erez Ben Zvi said: “The current limitations of imaging phantoms have been a longstanding challenge for the radiology community.

“This partnership with Siemens Healthineers will enable us to jointly explore the vast possibilities of our radiopaque materials and 3D printing technologies to overcome these barriers.”

Stratasys said that the partnership will change the way phantoms are used in the medical field, and even help replace human cadavers with 3D-printed structures in certain cases.

It would also generate key research data to provide insights for advancing CT system algorithms and materials development, unlock potential new application areas, and identify future research opportunities.

The partnership will initially manufacture 3D-printed phantoms for smaller-scale anatomies of the head and neck region, with plans to expand to larger and more complex anatomies.

The Phase One endpoint of the joint research programme is to 3D print a heart model and an entire human torso with complete radiographic accuracy.

Siemens Healthineers computed tomography product and clinical marketing head Lampros Theodorakis said: “Knowledge gained from this project provides a breakthrough in medical imaging that will open up new avenues for uses when it comes to 3D printing and imaging.

“We are excited about the opportunities ahead of us as a result of this partnership and believe it will have long-term impacts for medical and academic applications.”