The Role of 3-D Printing in UAE’s Healthcare
As the use of 3-D printing in the medical world continues to grow, the UAE has begun to see the revolutionizing effects in their own healthcare sector.
While many may feel as if 3-D printing is a relatively new and futuristic innovation, the technology has actually been available since 1980, but recently became more popular and widely used in 2009 when prices dropped due to a patent expiration. The technology’s recent price drop and potential to revolutionize several industries across the globe has created a boom in the 3-D printing industry, as more than 500,000 printers have been shipped in 2016.
Through an additive process, 3-D printing is able to transform digital designs into physical, solid objects. By laying down multiple, successive layers of materials, like glass, medal, ceramic or plastic, an object is formed. The successive layers of various materials would be considered thinly sliced horizontal cross-sections of the eventual object.
3-D printing has the potential to change several facets of the medical world. Traditional prosthetics can be replaced entirely by 3-D printing, which will reduce overall cost and wait time for people in need of a prosthetic. Additionally, the technology’s ability to replicate organs will serve as a helpful tool when preparing for or simulating surgeries. In fact, some university students have already started using 3-D printed body parts instead of cadavers.
The UAE has already begun to utilize the technology of 3-D printing in their healthcare sector. The Heart and Vascular Institute at Cleveland Clinic in Abu Dhabi, a part of the Cleveland Clinic US, is one among very few hospitals in the region that use 3-D printing for catheter-based interventions and heart surgeries. Furthermore, Medativ, a US and UAE-based 3-D organ printing company, was recently chosen by the Dubai Future Accelerators program to work directly with the Dubai Health Authority in collaboration to create a more innovative health sector.
The constant enhancement and improvement of healthcare through innovation is a common interest the US and UAE share. Through partnerships with leading institutions, like the Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, both countries have benefitted from new research, groundbreaking developments and innovations, like 3-D printing.
Acting as the driving force and key supporter behind the development of these partnerships between UAE and leading US healthcare institutions, Ambassador Al Otaiba has been actively promoting deeper ties and greater cooperation between the two countries since the beginning of his ambassadorship in 2008. Ambassador Al Otaiba has been instrumental in the creation of numerous partnerships ranging from healthcare and education to security and business. The UAE’s utilization of 3-D printing to improve the country’s healthcare is a testament of the US and UAE’s strong relationship the ambassador worked so hard to create.