3-D printable drugs are the newest innovation
Many believe it will revolutionize the medicine and pharmaceutical industries. The idea revolves around “printing” the drugs with the help of a 3D printer that has been, as yet, used to produce various products with the help of polymers but has now been programmed to print capsules with adjustable doses with the help of bio-degradable materials.
This technology would enable the custom production of drugs. “Through the addition of nanoparticles and/or other additives, this technology becomes much more viable using a common 3D printing material that is already biocompatible. The material can be loaded with antibiotics or other medicinal compounds, and the implant can be naturally broken down by the body over time.”, says Jeffery Weisman, a doctoral student in Louisiana Tech’s biomedical engineering program.
The greatest benefits of this technology, as deemed by the scientists, will be its ability to adjust the drug contents as per the needs of individual patients, for example, the amount of aspirin in a capsule would be adjustable, stronger or weaker, to achieve the desired effects. It is a step forward from traditional ways of manufacturing drugs that will save hundreds of millions that usually go into manufacturing of drugs. Not to mention the time it will be able to save that is taken from drug production at the manufacturing plants, till its delivery at the hospitals and the care centers.
For the production of drugs, the 3D printers will be used to produce the outer shells of the capsules and the medicine would be placed inside it in proper dose only before it is sealed. The software can be used to adjust the doses with precision up to a fraction of a millimeter. It is being anticipated that the technology would be made simple enough to be used at homes by the patients themselves.
3-D printing technology is being hailed a major success that would have wide ranging implications in the long run. Take the example of prosthetics placed inside the body. Previously they were made from bone cements that needed to be removed after the surgery and healing process but using this technology, bio-degradable material can be used for production of implants that would dissolve over time, eliminating the need of follow up removal procedures. This technology is expected to hit the markets and become commonplace within the next five years.