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Revolutionizing Breast Cancer Prevention With 3D Printing

Avi Cohen VP of Healthcare and Education at XJet.
By Avi Cohen VP of Healthcare and Education, XJet

The North American medical startup Marvel Medtech purchased an XJet Carmel 1400C 3D printer in the summer of 2019 to build key components in tools for fighting breast cancer. The company is going to use XJet’s Nanoparticle Jetting technology to freeze and destroy the most dangerous tiny breast cancer tumors and prevent them from growing.

The startup is seeking to combat the epidemic of breast cancer among women across the globe. It is estimated that in 2019 41,000 women died of breast cancer in North America alone, with 500,000 dying worldwide, despite significant advances in 3D mammography. These are numbers that Marvel Medtech is working to drastically reduce with its MRI based solution.

In 2002 Marvel Medtech recognized the value of MRI for detecting breast cancer. The organization began to use magnetic imaging to identify the disease in its early stages, allowing for the cancer to be detected whilst it was still curable. After discovering this was possible, the startup progressed its solution from detection to treatment, realizing that MRI mapping could be used to guide minimally invasive treatment procedures to destroy onset tumors, using cryoablation. All that was needed to make the solution possible was an MRI compatible tool.

This is where XJet Additive Manufacturing technology came into play, as Marvel Medtech identified it as a solution for creating tools usable inside the bore of a scanner. Medtech installed a Carmel 1400 3D printer in 2019 for producing a ceramic cryotherapy probe. This would be a key component within the startup’s robotic intervention guidance system, which freezes and destroys the most tiny, dangerous breast cancer tumors, preventing them from growing.

Commenting on how XJet technology made the solution possible, Ray Harter, president of Marvel Medtech, said that, “In making this system a reality, we were missing a vital piece of the puzzle. The tools used inside an MRI scanner must be compatible with strict safety guidelines, and crucially, not disrupt image quality. Because they are electrically insulating materials, ceramics are an ideal material. However, we were unable to find a ceramic-based 3D printer able to accurately and cost effectively produce our ceramic probe. This is why we are adopting XJet’s Carmel 1400 solution.”

The new system will be used during MRI scans in clinics across the USA and represents a completely new approach to breast cancer prevention. The scanner accessory will be vital for early elimination, removing the need for future expensive and invasive biopsy and any other surgical procedures. This technology breakthrough is expected to save thousands of lives, dramatically improving patient care and realizing billions of dollars in healthcare savings.

Through this process, the company is now hopeful that the procedure will kick-start the body’s anti-cancer immune response to further prevent the recurrence of cancerous tumors.

Speaking further on the solution, Harter added: “Our new approach preempts the need for many biopsies, surgeries, radiation and chemotherapy treatments. Obviously, the expectation is that it’s likely to save many lives, but it will also dramatically improve the quality of life for patients. In addition, we also know that by eradicating those procedures, it will also reduce overall health care costs. And these are not insignificant savings – annually, these could be in the many billions of dollars.”

For the Israeli additive manufacturing company XJet, the application was a vindication of the advantages of its solution. The company’s CBO Dror Danai commented, “This application is a great example of how our unique ceramic 3D printing technology can enable manufacturers to overcome the limitations of traditional ceramic production. Indeed, we believe that XJet NPJ opens the door for the invention and production of many new products and tools to answer some of mankind’s biggest challenges, and we’re excited to see how it will impact our lives in the future.”

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