Research

Where 3D Printing Meets Women’s Health

New medical devices benefit marginalized women around the globe.

Rahima Benhabbour holds up a medical device.

New medical devices benefit marginalized women around the globe.

Biomedical engineer Rahima Benhabbour’s innovative medical devices benefit marginalized women around the globe. Funded through Carolina’s KickStart Venture Services, Benhabbour’s company, AnelleO, develops polymer-based devices that are safe for use inside the human body.

In April, the Carolina researcher received $3.74 million to create an injectable technology that will provide women long-acting protection against sexually transmitted pathogens and prevent pregnancy. Notably, the injectable is also removable.

Injectable HIV prevention, 3D-printed intravaginal rings, patented hydrogel and biodegradable implants are just a few of Benhabbour’s developments.

Inspired by a project she worked on in her postdoctoral research, Benhabbour decided to make an intravaginal ring that could serve a variety of women’s health needs, from infertility to HIV prevention.

“As a woman from Africa, I wanted to find a way to help those women,” Benhabbour said. “They are so vulnerable. I wanted to create a mechanism they could use to protect themselves.”

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