Today I would like to share with you another practical example showing the importance of carrying out researches, here in Brazil (and in South America?), at all levels and areas, since the main benefitted is the civil society itself, in other words, each one of us.
Dr. Luciano Lauria Dib, a bucomaxillofacial surgeon, faculty member and researcher associated to international universities, in collaboration with Dr. Rodrigo Salazar, a Peruvian researcher, and the University of Illinois, USA, and additional physicians, invented an innovative and much cheaper method to manufacture facial prostheses. This new technique allows them to produce facial prostheses using a regular smartphone, free applications and a common 3-D printer.
In addition to saving time and money, such technique enables the restoration of faces and also of the self-esteem among patients who suffered injuries associated to cancer of mouth, nose, jaw or another area of head or neck.
As one can see in previous posts published here in the CURE website, the incidence of cancer of head and neck (many of them associated to the HPV virus) has been increasing on a significant manner. According to statistics published by the Brazilian Ministry of Health, this type of cancer may reach up to 30,000 cases per year (in a near future?); as a consequence of such disease, surgical removal of portions of face is required, followed by some type of facial reconstruction. However, many of such patients cannot afford those restorative surgeries.
Concerned with such scenario Dr. Dib, in conjunction with a multidisciplinary team – all volunteers, created the Instituto Mais Identidade, a non-for-profit organization, to restore the self-esteem of those patients who had their facial appearance modified. This Institute sponsors the installation of such innovative prostheses in such patients and plans to train additional physicians to use that technique.
However, alike the CURE Project, the Instituto Mais Identidade still suffers with the lack of resources to disseminate such benefits to thousands of patients.
We need a society more aware of the importance of supporting social responsibility projects and creating a culture of donation, both physical and legal, in order to allow these projects to advance, ranging from the scientific researches to the end product, be it a new medicine, a new treatment or a new technique.
By Fernanda Schwyter Coordintor, CURE Project