HomeAnimalStartup Builds World’s 1st 3D Printer for Personalised Silicon Implants

Startup Builds World’s 1st 3D Printer for Personalised Silicon Implants


Shilpi Sen was solely a school-going lady when she misplaced her aunt to breast most cancers. Being up shut with the illness made her realise the psychological agony it places its sufferers by means of, she says. 

“I used to observe not solely my aunt, but in addition my grandparents struggling. Their psychological and bodily agony was huge,” Shilpi, now 44, recollects to The Higher India.

In 2015, whereas she was nonetheless working at Nuffic Neso concerned in branding and selling research within the Netherlands, throughout a brand new yr’s dinner she met Vikas Garg, 32, a fabric scientist. This assembly would ultimately result in the formation of her organisation Prayasta — a startup that goals to personalise smooth tissue implants and prostheses.

Launched in 2017, Prayasta focuses on creating know-how that may assist produce personalised smooth tissue implants. They lately developed the world’s first 3D printer for implant-grade silicone in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru.

“Whereas we had been speaking, we realised that we had the same imaginative and prescient — we each needed to fill the hole between know-how and the healthcare area,” she notes.

Shilpi Sen, Co-founder of Prayasta.
Shilpi Sen, Co-founder of Prayasta; Picture credit score: Shilpi Sen

In the meantime, Vikas says that he was fascinated with mixing completely different supplies and amalgamating them with human our bodies, which is why he pursued a PhD in materials sciences. “l realised that I need to apply the information relatively than be on the analysis facet of issues. Academia is nice however at the moment it felt prefer it was not for me,” he says. 

‘Personalisation — not a luxurious’

The duo say they observed there was no know-how that caters to the personalisation of sentimental tissue implants within the nation. 

“When a girl is present process the surgical procedure, and the medical doctors realise that the brand new breast and the opposite breast are usually not of the identical dimensions, they do a surgical procedure on the wholesome breast to right the imbalance. That basically shook me. A lady who’s already a survivor and has seen sufficient goes by means of rounds of surgical procedure for no good motive,” Shilpi laments.

Whereas such surgical procedures are painful procedures, an imbalance within the physique must be corrected.

“Statistically talking, your entire inhabitants could be categorised into say 10-20 sizes, however then each physique is barely completely different from one other. Each individual’s physique is so distinctive. It isn’t solely true for breasts — take the instance of eyes, cheeks, or ears. Although personalisation would possibly sound like a luxurious, in such circumstances, it’s actually a necessity,” Vikas Garg, co-founder, Prayasta says.

He explains that the performance of the physique depends upon the implant. “Clinically talking, if a breast is absent from the physique, a considerable quantity of weight is absent. That offers rise to asymmetry. It’s a requirement that the load of the physique stays balanced,” he says. 

“In layman’s phrases, the trachea or the windpipe is only a pipe. However it’s not a straight one. It’s rounded, someplace the contours are completely different. When somebody requires an answer for that — be it for most cancers or lung illness — if the match just isn’t proper, the surgeon will find yourself making a smaller diameter trachea, resulting in leaks and restoration points. Therefore the necessity for personalisation,” Vikas explains.

The know-how

Tormented by the quite a few gaps within the implant business and the varied points sufferers undergo, the duo determined that they want an answer. 

This led to the delivery of Silimac, the world’s first 3D printer for implant-grade silicone. 

Silimac, World's first 3D printer for implant grade silicone
Silimac, World’s first 3D printer for implant-grade silicone developed by Prayasta and IISc; Picture credit score: Shilpi Sen

Silimac can straight 3D print implant-grade silicone materials to make an implant inside the hospital itself. The implants could be personalised not solely when it comes to form, dimension, and contour, but in addition when it comes to weight, stiffness, contact and really feel, say the founders of Prayasta.

“We even have developed a know-how that we name NIA, or novel inner structure. It’s a plethora of designs that we use to fabricate personalised implants when it comes to form, dimension, contact, and weight. It’s liquidless, making it rupture-proof,” Shilpi explains. 

“With this know-how we’re fixing three main issues — the problem of not having personalised implants, decreasing the chance of failure in surgical procedure, and making implants which might be appropriate for youths,” says Vikas.

He provides, “When children require options like this, they’re in a fragile and rising stage. So, the customisation of the implant must be much more exact.” 

The 3D printer is now housed at IISc.

Dr Kaushik Chatterjee, affiliate professor, Division of Supplies Engineering and Centre for BioSystems Science and Engineering, IISc, says, “The sector of 3D printing is being adopted in quite a lot of industries for a large spectrum of supplies, together with healthcare, amongst different functions. Silicone is used as a substitute for smooth tissues within the physique however these are mass manufactured. Such implants don’t at all times match effectively to fulfill the anatomical wants of all sufferers. We at IISc are excited to companion with Prayasta to leverage this new know-how to supply patient-specific implants for improved medical outcomes.” 

Why silicone? 

Silicone is a fancy materials, informs Vikas. It has a unique chemical composition and isn’t very simple to print. 

“We can not take a traditional 3D printer and use silicone. Silicone is available in hundreds of thousands of types, and we’re utilizing the implantable selection. The good thing about that is that silicone can keep within the physique for 10-15 years with none uncomfortable side effects to the physique,” he defined. 

Implant-grade silicone is one of the best biocompatible materials for human implants, which keep contained in the physique. There was a lot analysis on different supplies that can be utilized, however nothing is definite as of now, says Shilpi.

Vikas Garg, Co-founder of Prayasta
Vikas Garg, Co-founder of Prayasta; Picture Credit score: Shilpi Sen

“One other drawback that this type of implant solves is that at the moment, breast implants are like a balloon. There may be an outer shell of a skinny movie of silicone and inside could be silicone gel. The apparent threat is that there’s a threat of leakage, and if the gel is available in contact with the bloodstream, it may be deadly,” says Vikas. 

By 3D printing implants with Silimac, this threat will get eradicated fully, provides Vikas.

What’s subsequent for Prayasta? 

Prayasta’s 3D printer is a one-of-a-kind, novel technology made by an Indian startup. For the reason that know-how is new, the price of manufacturing is excessive, says Shilpi. 

“It’s unlucky that implant-grade silicone just isn’t manufactured in India. So we’ve got to supply it from the US and Germany. The price of silicone is Rs 1 lakh per kg. Nevertheless, we need to make it as reasonably priced as doable for everybody. Sooner or later, when the know-how is extra commercialised, then the affordability would possibly improve,” says Shilpi. 

The co-founders say that they need to take the know-how to the final mile. 

“We now have little or no management over the price of uncooked supplies. However we need to make it as reasonably priced to everybody sooner or later, with investments from third events, as doable,” added Vikas. 

Whereas the know-how is novel, IISc affiliate professor Dr Kaushik Chatterjee says, “It is a cutting-edge know-how that has huge potential for affected person care within the nation and worldwide.” 

“We imagine in shaping lives to be higher. We needed to do all the things from scratch because it was by no means carried out earlier than. We need to take it to international ranges and make personalised implants accessible to everybody, which is at the moment missing in our healthcare system,” says Shilpi.

Edited by Divya Sethu



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