Healing Tools: 3D Printing for Medicine Led by CI MED Students
Carle Illinois College of Medicine students are using 3D printing in a new way to help advance medicine and medical education. They’ve created the first student-led 3D printing interest group on the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus. The group creates new opportunities for students to prototype their health care innovations and visualize disease within the human body.
CIM3D co-founder Rand Kittani (Class of 2026) says as the next generation of physician-innovators, CI MED students will be at the forefront of expanding the application of 3D printing in clinical practice. “3D printing is being utilized in medical solutions that can aid patients in various ways such as custom prosthetic limbs and orthopedic implants, as well as aiding surgeons with surgical mental planning through 3D-printed anatomical models,” Kittani said. The FDA has approved several commercially available 3D-printed instruments, implants, and external prosthetics for use in clinical practice. CI MED students have already used 3D printing technology to create prototypes and models of new devices as part of the research and development process for their Capstone Innovations and other projects.
Kittani says the new group will also explore 3D printed models as a powerful learning tool. “3D printing can be utilized to facilitate medical education by providing alternative ways of learning, and it helps with disease visualization, modeling, and understanding.” She says 3D printing skills can be particularly useful in medical specialties such as surgery, cardiology, and orthopedics.
The CIM3D group will offer medical students both hands-on training and a chance to interact with campus experts. “We are designing sessions regarding medical applications workshops to teach students to create clinically relevant designs and innovations. We are also planning on hosting speakers to discuss cutting-edge technology in 3D and bioprinting. Our first speaker is CI MED Dean Mark Cohen, who is working on establishing bioprinting lab on campus.” Bioprinting extends 3D printing by using biomaterial to fabricate living tissue or organ-like structures to assist in healing disease or injury.
CIM3D has already hosted introductory training sessions on 3D printing techniques and software for medical students. As the group grows, Kittani hopes to create new opportunities for students across the UIUC campus to work together on 3D-printed innovations.
CIM3D was founded by Rand Kittani, Sid Limaye, and Jose Beltran.
Editor's note: For more information on the use of 3D printing in clinical care, see this article. Additional coverage of CIM3D by the News-Gazette can be found here. The half pelvis model pictured in the newspaper's article is one of several 3D printed models created as a part of an open educational resource to support women's health education nationally and globally under the title "The Female Reproductive System and Women's Health Through a Multidisciplinary Lens." A multidisciplinary team from CIMED and Knox College are creating the resource. The contents of this resource, including the Textbook and 3D printed models, were developed under grant P116T210005 from the Open Textbook Pilot Program, Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE), U.S. Department of Education. Grant name: Illinois SCOERs (Support for the Creation of Open Education Resources), facilitated by the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI).