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Professor Kamal Mustafa flanked by (from left) Anders Haugland (CEO, BTO), Minister of Trade and Industry Monica Mæland (H), Ragnhild Janbu Fresvik (EVP Business, Sparebanken Vest) og Dag Rune Olsen (Rektor, University of Bergen) Photo: Eivind Senneset

Award winning idea can help one million patients annually

This fall, Bergen Teknologioverføring (BTO) and Sparebanken Vest have organized the Idea Competition for the sixth time. This year’s winner was Professor Kamal Mustafa and his research team from the University of Bergen. Their contribution aims to help people in need of bone healing, by using 3D printing to recreate damaged bone fragments.

For ten years Professor Mustafa and his team from the Department of Clinical Dentistry at the University of Bergen have worked on solving problems related to healing fractured bones. This is relevant when taking healthy bone marrow from the patient itself is not possible. When using bones from animals or other people this may introduce complications. With Mustafa’s new solution, however, it will be possible to use 3D printing to recreate damaged bone fragments. Combining this with stem cells will make the bones grow together with the patient’s own cells. This reduces the risk of the body rejecting the new bone, and will make for a faster and safer healing process.

The innovation potential of the project is based on the approach to provide personalized and tailored 3D printed scaffolds suitable for medical applications and bone healing therapies at reasonable costs. As soon as the marketable product is developed for clinical use, a number of diseases dealing with bone defects will be treatable and new strategies for large bone healing therapies will be enabled. Such novel customized and personalized 3D printed scaffolds will directly and positively impact on the daily lives of the patients with large bone defects.

More than one million patients in Europe will benefit from the research annually if the project succeeds. Professor Mustafa has a strong belief that it will succeed:

The constant demand for improved, reliable and low cost products, as well as the increasing number of bone problems due to the increasing aging and life expectancy of the population in Europe, creates the obvious need for innovative approach and therapy.

The prize was awarded during the Idea Competition 2016, hosted by Sparebanken Vest and BTO. The Idea Competition has been hosted since 2010, and the award of 300.000 NOK will help developing the idea further. The purpose of the competition is to stimulate commercialization of research results, to enlighten the research and commercializing environment, and to generate attention for the need of innovation and research. Professor Mustafa is happy to win this year’s competition:

Identifying “innovation potential” is not only assessed whether someone is “coming up with new ideas” but more how these ideas will be implemented and successfully brought to market. Winning the Idea Competition would emphasize the importance of innovation in research. This will certainly stimulate further my research group and the environment in our institute.

This year’s prize was awarded by the Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry, Monica Mæland, at Bergen Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s annual conference, Friday 18th of November. The jury stated the reason for Professor Mustafa and his team winning the competition as follows:

“For this year’s competition we received 15 particularly good and interesting contributions. The contributions were innovative, and if they succeed they will benefit the society in a great way. The jury picked a candidate from an academic environment that is in lead of their research field. The field of reconstructing human bones is rapidly developing and has a huge clinical potential.”


Professor Kamal Mustafa on stage adressing the audience at Årskonferansen.

Professor Kamal Mustafa on stage adressing the audience at Årskonferansen.

Members of the jury:

  • Øivind Enger from Sarsia Seed (Chairman of the jury),
  • Asgeir Løno from Sparebanken Vest,
  • Jone Engelsvold from Regional Research Fund of Western Norway,
  • Ingrid Heradstveit Guddal from Innovation Norway,
  • Stig Ryland from Bergen Chamber of Commerce and Industry,
  • Steffen Boga, BTO (Secretary of the jury).

BTO congratulates Professor Kamal Mustafa and his team!

Press release in Norwegian:«Vil 3D-printe bein til skjelettet ditt. Prosjekt fra Universitetet i Bergen vant Idekonkurransen 2016«