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A New Revolution in the Medical Industry: 3D Printed Medicine

3D-drug-printerThe 3D printing revolution is showing no signs of slowing down. Already, we’re seeing 3D printers being used to build houses, print edible food (that actually tastes really good!), and even solve social issues, like pollution and homelessness.

But the biggest and most important strides that 3D printing is making are in the biomedical engineering field. This next story is further proof that 3D printing is a great and important technology for this day and age.

A team of researchers from the Louisiana Tech University believes they have come up with a way to 3D print pharmaceutical drugs. They say they can create a capsule—using a biodegradable material—that can be swallowed. It will also allow doctors to alter a dosage according to the patient’s specific requirements. According to RT, these capsules could contain anything from every day, over-the-counter drugs to chemotherapy compounds for those needing cancer treatments.

“After identifying the usefulness of the 3D printers, we realized there was an opportunity for rapid prototyping using this fabrication method,” says Jeffery Weisman, a doctoral student in Louisiana Tech’s biomedical engineering program. He and his team were able to make these capsules using a common 3D printing material that was already easy to digest. “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 Weisman.

The real beauty of this new technology is its ability to tailor the contents of a drug for particular needs. This could mean a dose of antibiotics could be made stronger or weaker, depending on the requirements of the patient. It could also mean that hospitals and pharmacies would not have to wait for a delivery from the pharmaceutical company to get their medicine—as long as they have the drug on hand, they can create the dosage in the medical facility, or drug store.

Weisman is especially proud of the fact that these drugs can be printed with any 3D printer available to consumers. Essentially, this means that medicine and pharmaceutical drugs could be made available anywhere in the world. Imagine how many people around the world could benefit from this revolutionary technology!

With 3D printers becoming more and more common in today’s world, it won’t be long until every home is equipped with its own 3D printer, which could be used to make anything from the replacement pipes for a leaky faucet to Sunday night dinner. But with this great progress being made in biomedical engineering, 3D printing will also now be a huge component in extending the life expectancy of everyone in the world. And that is certainly something to get excited about!

photo credit: RT

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