Score another point for 3-D printing. Momo Scientific, the developer of a low-cost medical device for use in developing nations, has been able to finish prototyping their innovative device thanks to high-resolution 3-D printing. Developed alongside Jhpiego, a John’s Hopkins University-affiliated NGO, Momo Scientific's device, the CryoPop, is aimed at providing pap tests in developing countries where such procedures are prohibitively expensive. By converting CO2 (which is available cheaply thanks to the soda industry) into dry ice, the CryoPop can treat cervical pre-cancerous lesions by freezing them. The company says the procedure is akin to freezing warts off of the skin. Moreover, the device is simple enough that trained nurses and midwives can be trained in the procedure – further reducing healthcare costs in regions of India and Sub-Saharan Africa, where nurses are often more available than doctors.
Marton Varady, CryoPop's project manager, discovered he would need a higher resolution 3-D printer than was currently available to him to create prototypes for the CryoPop. He found his answer with a printer being used by Potomac Photonics, a Maryland-based micro manufacturing company. In a press statement, Varady comments, “The resolution of this 3-D printer was much higher than what we had in our onsite lab. Working with tolerances in the 1 – 2 thousandths range gave us the parameters we needed to fulfill the design requirement. Plus, we could make the entire part in one piece, which increased robustness.”
While the final version of the CryoPop may not be manufactured entirely with 3-D printing, Varaday comments that 3-D printing played a large part in helping Momo Scientific move forward with the project. “3D printing can’t always do everything we need, but it is a great tool and has solved some tough problems in our project. It really helped move us toward saving women’s lives!”
The CryoPop is currently undergoing animals studies. Momo Scientific predicts it will be available to market in the next two years.