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Joseph DeSimone: How 3D printing is changing medicine

With growing precision and new materials, 3D printing stands to reshape health care.

A doctor fitting a patient with a 3D-printed splint

Joseph DeSimone is an expert in transferring promising technological breakthroughs into real-world products. | Unsplash/Tom Claes

Oft-heralded 3-dimensional printers can build objects ranging from simple spoons to advanced running shoes.

While those objects are usually made very slowly, the latest printing technologies portend a new era of 3D printing in real-time for use in health care.

The possibilities are endless, says Joseph DeSimone, who is an expert in translational medicine – the field of transferring promising technological breakthroughs into real-world products. He says printers he developed have led to the first FDA-approved 3D printed dentures, ultra-thin microneedles that make it easier and more effective to deliver vaccines, and even implantable chemotherapy devices that kill tumors while reducing side effects for patients.

From dentistry to oncology, the promise of 3D printed medical devices is only just emerging, as DeSimone explains in this episode of Stanford Engineering’s The Future of Everythingpodcast with host Russ Altman. Listen and subscribe here.