Pharmaceutical International News - April 2012
3D Printed Customised Drug Breakthrough
Posted by Pharmaceutical International's Technology Reporter on 19/04/2012 - 12:15:00
A groundbreaking 3D printing technique developed in the UK has the potential to open up a new age of chemical product creations which could be shared by scientists, medical professionals and ordinary members of the general public.
In a paper published by Nature Chemistry, those involved explain how they drew on a standard 3D printer to construct these chemical products, avoiding the industrial-scale chemical engineering technologies typically involved in the production of new drugs.
Based at The University of Glasgow and spearheaded by Professor Lee Cronin, they've created so-called ‘reactionware' - dedicated polymer gel-derived chemical reaction vessels - and to these gels can be added additional chemicals and catalysts, to speed the reactions up.
3D Printed Drugs
"It's long been possible to have lab materials custom-made to include windows or electrodes, for example, but it's been expensive and time-consuming", Professor Cronin explained in a University of Glasgow press release on the 3D printed drugs.
He continued: "We can fabricate these reactionware vessels using a 3D printer in a relatively short time. Even the most complicated vessels we've built have only taken a few hours. By making the vessel itself part of the reaction process, the distinction between the reactor and the reaction becomes very hazy.
"It's a new way for chemists to think, and it gives us very specific control over reactions because we can continually refine the design of our vessels as required. For example, our initial reactionware designs allowed us to synthesize three previously unreported compounds and dictate the outcome of a fourth reaction solely by altering the chemical composition of the reactor."
Printed Customised Drugs
This highly novel technique has multiple future applications. In the development team's mind is the notion of consumer-available software apps, which could allow patients to make their own, printed customised drugs.
‘This would not only place traditionally expensive chemical engineering technology within reach of typical laboratories and small commercial enterprises, but also could revolutionise access to healthcare and the chemical sciences in general in the developing world', the researchers state in the Nature Chemistry article.
Image copyright The University of Glasgow
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