A $10 million funding commitment to the Herston Biofabrication Institute has been welcomed by QUT Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Margaret Sheil AO.
Opposition spokesperson for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research Senator the Hon. Kim Carr today announced the promised funding towards QUT’s investment in the Institute, a $65 million partnership between QUT and Metro North Hospital and Health Service.
Professor Sheil said the Institute is a world-class facility which will accelerate the translation of research from the lab to the clinic and deliver customised patient treatments to provide better health outcomes, lower costs and reduced hospital stays.
“A funding injection will support the creation of essential research infrastructure for this significant initiative,” Professor Sheil said.
“The Institute will be involved in development and use of the latest in 3D medical scanning, computer modelling and printing technologies and customised patient medical devices to repair or regenerate tissue.
“QUT is an innovative teaching and research university with strong industry links. By partnering with Metro North we are able to bring together clinicians and medical researchers with a focus on healthcare solutions that have real world clinical impact.
“The Institute will also open up new opportunities for industry engagement, manufacturing and commercialisation of medical innovation.”
Located at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital within the Herston Health Precinct, the Institute is due to open next year.
It will comprise state-of-the-art 3D printing and tissue engineering labs, a biofabrication education centre, patient interface areas, and space for researchers, clinicians and industry partners to collaborate.
Up to 200 researchers and engineers will be hosted at the Institute, working across a range of clinical areas including orthopaedics, burns and trauma, vascular surgery, cancer care, prosthetics and rehabilitation, and urology. The Institute is also expected to create 50 new jobs within its first five years, as well as 30 new PhD positions.
“This is a hospital of the future that aims to encompass the entire patient journey,” said Institute acting director QUT Professor Mia Woodruff.
“That is from patient assessment using 3D scanning and machine learning, through to virtual reality surgical planning, 3D printed personalised metallic implants, and patient-specific 3D tissue substitutes to repair or regenerate tissue that is lost or damaged due to cancers, congenital defects, ageing or injury.
“Some of the research already underway includes 3D-printed prosthetic ears for children with congenital ear malformation, 3D-printed face masks to treat people with severe burns, and 3D-printed biodegradable polymer implants containing a patient’s own cells that precisely match the shape of the missing or damaged bone or other tissue.
“Researchers are also working on 3D-printed and virtual reality patient-specific anatomical models for treatment planning, and augmented reality tools to help clinicians develop better treatments.”