The people have spoken: It’s 3D-printed tissue

Feinstein Center researchers -- and prize winners -- Daniel Grande and Todd Goldstein.

With nearly half-a-million votes cast, Northwell Health is ready to declare a 3D bioprinting project the winner of its $100,000 Medical Innovation Contest.

The month-long multimedia contest, featuring television commercials and online voting, asked the public to choose from three healthcare innovations developed by Northwell researchers and physicians, with the winner receiving the six-figure stipend to bolster commercialization efforts.

Northwell Health President and CEO Michael Dowling on Monday presented the winner’s share to Lee Smith, chief of pediatric otolaryngology at the Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park, and Feinstein Institute researchers Daniel Grande and Todd Goldstein.

Goldstein is a PhD candidate at the Feinstein Institute’s Elmezzi Graduate School of Molecular Medicine and an orthopedic research assistant working under Grande, an associate Feinstein investigator. They began their 3D printing collaboration several years ago by conducting research with bioprinted animal organs and bones.

The $100,000 will further the trio’s efforts to combine 3D printing and artificial tissue engineering to produce “bioprinted” implants created from a patient’s own living cells. Such implants “have the potential to replace many different parts of the human body,” Dowling noted. “3D bioprinting’s potential is almost limitless.”

Bolstered by the $100,000 investment and logistical support from Northwell Ventures, Smith, Grande and Goldstein will “focus their efforts on providing end-to-end solutions for 3D printing in healthcare,” according to Northwell Health.

The 3D printing pioneers bested the Patient Identification Shield, a modern, non-transferable, easily removable temporary stamp meant to replace the antiquated hospital wristband, and the Blood Loss Manager, a new working title for the “neural tourniquet” blood-loss-staunching device being brought to market by Feinstein Vice President Christopher Czura.

The contest was largely decided by commercials that aired during coverage of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Northwell Health ran a total of 16 thirty-second spots during the tournament, informing viewers about the three sciences and inviting them to cast votes.

Northwell Health recorded 487,761 total votes throughout the contest, with the 3D printing project’s 245,272 tallies carrying the day. The Patient Identification Shield – whose commercialization efforts are being led by Northwell Health Senior VP Peter Costantino, the health system’s chief of head and neck services and otolaryngology chairman at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan – finished a close second (221,703).

Although they fell short in the Medical Innovation Contest, both the Patient Identification Shield and the Blood Loss Manager also show “remarkable promise,” noted Thomas Thornton, senior VP and executive director of Northwell Ventures, the health system’s commercialization office.

“We will look for future opportunities to pursue additional research and future investment (in the runners-up),” Thornton said in a statement.

But the $100,000, he added, will be well-spent on a project that’s in step with a thriving market sector.

“We believe there’s strong clinical demand for 3D printing,” Thornton said. “We’re working with our clinical partners and researchers to use these technologies to enhance patient care.”

Dowling predicted the demand for 3D printing technologies won’t stop at the clinic door.

“Researchers envision a future with 3D printers in every emergency room,” the CEO noted. “Where doctors are able to print emergency implants of organs and bones on demand and revolutionize the way medicine is practiced.”

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