UCF cranking out advanced, affordable medical marvels
While UCF's medical school is young, the impact the university has made in treating cancer patients and lung disease patients, among others, is significant.
In the past year, UCF has been pumping out technological advances in the medical field, many of which slim down the cost of normally-pricey treatments. The College of Medicine has been especially focusing on incorporating modern tools into the classroom.
UCF garnered national attention when a group of UCF students presented 7-year-old Alex Pring with a prosthetic arm. After constructing the arm with the use of the College of Engineering's 3D printer, Albert Manero and his team presented the contraption to Pring, who was born missing part of his arm. The arm only cost $350 to make, and sparked the creation of The Limitless Foundation to provide scholarship opportunities at UCF for kids just like Pring.
"Our team really feels strongly that you should not be profiting off of giving children arms," Manero said.
Limbitless Solutions has since created a Tangled-inspired arm for Madelyn Rebsamen, 7, who was born without the lower part of her arm. Prosthetics can cost in the upwards of $40,000.
Most recently, actor Robert Downy, Jr. got involved with Limbitless Solutions's Collective Project, through which he presented Pring with an Iron Man arm.
$1 cancer test
Researchers at the UCF NanoScience Technology Center have developed a test to detect prostate cancer using gold nanoparticles.
The test costs less than $1 and yields results for early-stage prostate cancer. A container of the gold nanoparticles submersed in water costs around $250, which can be used to administer about 2,500 tests, according to a UCF Today press release.
"... Because it's low-cost, we're hoping most people can have this test in their doctor's office. If we can catch this cancer in its early stages, the impact is going to be big," associate professor and developer of the test Treen Huo said in the release.
3D artificial lung
Olusegun Ilegbusi, a UCF professor in the department of mechanical and Aerospace engineering, is one of several contributors to the creation of what can possibly be the solution to lung cancer: a three-dimensional artificial lung.
In the span of about four years, through three separate phases, the 3D artificial lung was created in hopes of providing precise information on tumor motion.
These virtual lungs will be utilized to test how specific medications, treatments or procedures will affect the patient, without physically affecting the patient's lungs.
The patient will breathe normally through a mouthpiece, which looks similar to that of a snorkel, and the monitored data will be displayed directly through the 3D lung.
It is envisioned that in the next three to five years, every lung patient will have a 3D-printed lung by their side, which doctors can observe to better understand what is happening inside the patient.
Virtual autopsy table
Normally, six or seven students with UCF's College of Medicine would share one cadaver, or corpse, while learning about human anatomy. With the school's recent purchase of a virtual autopsy table, students are able to follow along during a lecture or see up close and personal using the gadget that resembles a very large iPad.
Unlike with a cadaver, students can zoom in to examine tiny details, flip their view and isolate certain organs.
Once you've dissected a person, you can't put the parts back, said Suhtling Wong of the UCF Regional Extension Center. However, with the table, you can examine one case over and over again. With a $70,000 price tag, the table is a great learning tool for students, and keeps UCF on top of developing technology, sometimes more so than other universities.
Caroline Glenn, Rachel Stuart and Nada Hassanein contributed to this report.