Creating personalized and precision medicine with “clinical modelers”

We welcome Prof. Frank J. Rybicki as Editor-in-Chief of SpringerOpen’s latest fully open access journal. In this post, we find out his motivation to start this publication, discover challenges faced in developing this field and learn his reasons for choosing open access.

Congratulations on the successful launch of 3D Printing in Medicine! What inspired you to start a journal on 3D printing in the area of medicine?

Currently publications in 3D printing in medicine incompletely report methodology, limiting reproducibility and careful assessment of appropriateness.

Prof. Rybicki at our Springer booth at the RSNA Conference 2015, Chicago.

This journal aims to adopt a format for standardized enhanced communication. For example, a template format would include the following: printer type, materials, time to print (assuming the object was printed by itself), estimated cost of the materials, and potential overall cost to fabricate the model.

What are the challenges faced in developing 3D printing in medicine?

The challenge occurs in the creating, manipulating, and printing of Standard Tessellation Language (STL) files. Generating a hand-held model from a CT scan is harder than it has to be.

Several diagnostic post-processing steps applied to the CT volume (collectively termed “3D visualization”) must be repeated to generate an STL file that is then 3D printed. Multiple software packages are also typically required before the STL file is electronically placed on a separate build-tray software platform.

In five years or less, the inefficiency of medical modeling will be a historical footnote.

Why choose open access?

Having 3D Printing in Medicine being an open access publication also means the journal articles are freely available online to anyone. This maximizes the visibility and use of the work published.

This journal is designed to provide a common platform peer-review platform, and encourages a forum which is long overdue.

3D Printing in Medicine invites not only clinical studies, but also “concept papers” that will motivate and connect physicians, industry, engineers, and scientists in general. These papers will benefit from peer review and serve as a platform for funding that will drive further innovations.

The journal will also address the question, “What defines a model that is clinically useful?” There are no 3D printing appropriateness criteria guidelines for a specific clinical scenario. Even the scenarios themselves are yet to be clearly defined. However, the challenge of clinical reimbursement will follow guidelines, and those guidelines in turn must be driven by peer-review studies that show that specific models are not only safe and efficacious, but also that they improve patient outcomes.

3D Printing in Medicine recently launched in November 2015 and is now open for submissions.

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