Niagara biotech creates pre-surgical 3D organ models

Jun PangA Niagara Falls company is on the cutting edge of creating human organ models that could save lives.

By using state-of-the-art technology, and by taking data from MRIs, CT scans and X-rays, Northernchem produces realistic 3D replicas of vital organs, such as hearts, livers and brains. This gives surgeons and medical students an opportunity to practise on these model organs before having to do a real operation.

Northernchem opened four years ago and is a multi-faceted, high-tech chemical and pharmaceutical company.

“These models are used for pre-surgery. It’s a huge market that includes U.S., Canada and China,” said Dr. Jun Pang (pictured), president and CEO of Northernchem.

He said a heart model typically costs about $1,500 to $2,000. Northernchem, however, uses its own polymers and other new technology, which brings their costs down. The company can sell its models for about $600.

Pang said he has talked to doctors and surgeons who want to take advantage of the models.

Northernchem operates out of four units in a strip mall, each unit is dedicated to a different part of the business.

About 30 people work at Northernchem. The company employs top scientists, many of whom hold a PhD and have postdoctoral experience from well recognized universities, such as Harvard.

The business has international collaborations with more than 150 institutions, including universities, research institutions, and pharmaceutical companies in Canada, the United States, and China.

Marketing manager Marilyn Tian said the company has plans to expand in Niagara Falls in the near future to accommodate the fast-growing industry.

Mayor Jim Diodati acknowledged Northernchem during his state of the city address last week, and credited the company for its unique and innovative ideas.

“They have these digital 3D printers and they create organs,” said Diodati, while holding a human heart model.

“They’ll take a full scan of your heart, and they’ll recreate it with 3D imaging, and then they’ll have the doctor perform a practice surgery, even if it’s an infant, on this heart before they do the actual heart. Isn’t that incredible.”

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Source: Niagara Falls Review