3-D printing is fast becoming a focus in the FDA's practice of regulatory science.
The FDA is using 3-D printing, the process of making a three-dimensional solid object of virtually any shape from a digital model, to expand research efforts and review innovative medical products. The 3-D technology is assisting the FDA in developing new tools, standards and approaches to assess the safety, effectiveness, quality and performance of FDA-regulated products.
With 3-D printing, the conversion from a virtual computer model to a physical object can occur almost in real time. The printer translates virtual models into digital cross-sections for use as a blueprint for printing, laying down successive layers in different shapes.
3-D printing, once considered the wave of the future, is making headlines across the board in science, with applications as wide as tissue regeneration.