Drugs of the future

http://smallbiztrends.com/2015/08/3d-printing-drugs-spritam-aprecia-pharmaceuticals.html

spritam

Could 3D Printers Manufacture the Drugs of the Future?

You can now use 3D printing to create items using a wide range of filaments, and not just plastics. Metals, edibles, bio and construction materials are just some of the examples that are being developed for 3D printing.

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Spritam, an epilepsy medication made using 3D printers.

This makes Spritam the first 3D printed product approved by the FDA for use inside the human body.

The company that developed it, Aprecia Pharmaceuticals, used powder-liquid three-dimensional printing (3DP) technology, which was developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the late 1980s as a rapid-prototyping technique. Rapid prototyping is the same technique used in 3D printing.

According to the company, this specific process was expanded into tissue engineering and pharmaceutical use from 1993 to 2003.

After acquiring exclusive license to MIT’s 3DP process, Aprecia developed the ZipDose Technology platform. The medication delivery process allows high doses of up to 1,000 mg to rapidly disintegrate on contact with liquid. This is achieved by breaking the bonds that were created during the 3DP process.

If you advance the technology a decade or more, having the medication you need printed at home is not that implausible. While big-pharma may have something to say about it, new business opportunities will be created that will be able to monetize the technology.

As impressive as that sounds, there are many more medical applications in the pipeline.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) has a website with an extensive database of 3D printing applications in the medical field. This includes the NIH 3D Print Exchange special collection for prosthetics, which lets you print next generation prosthetics at a fraction of the cost of the ones now being sold in the marketplace.

The next evolution in the field of medicine is printing complex living tissues. Also known as bio-printing, the potential applications in regenerative medicine is incredible.

In conjunction with stem cell research, printing human organs is not as far-fetched as it sounds. Currently different body parts have been printed, and the days of long transplant waiting lists will eventually become a thing of the past.

It’s important to remember that a lot more goes into the creation of a medication or other medical break-through than just being able to “print” drugs. Other costs include intensive research and development and then exhaustive testing.

So there’s no reason to believe 3D printing alone will allow smaller drug firms to more effectively compete with huge pharmaceutical firms. But the break through will certainly create more opportunities in the medical industry for companies of all sizes.

Outside of medicine, 3D printing has been used to print cars, clothes and even guns, which goes to prove the only limitation of this technology is your imagination.

Many of the technologies we use today were developed many years ago, but they take some time before they are ready for the marketplace.

3D printing is one great example. It was invented in 1984, but its full potential is just now being realized.

In 2012, The Economist labeled this technology as, “The Third Industrial Revolution,” and that sentiment has been echoed by many since then. This has generated unrealistic expectations, even though it is evolving at an impressive rate.

smallbiztrends.com

by Michael Guta | Aug 10, 2015

3D printing with glass

http://makezine.com/2015/06/26/new-3d-printer-uses-molten-glass/

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New 3D Printer Uses Molten Glass

Micron 3DP, a maker of extruders for 3D printing, has been exploring an exciting new area: 3D Printing with glass.

This exploration seems like a somewhat natural transition for the company. The “hot end” of the 3D printer is the part of the extruder assembly that literally melts the plastic which is then deposited in layers to make an object.

Many new materials have been appearing on the market, but they are typically mixtures of plastic that can melt at temperatures below 300 degrees Celsius. Micron has been toying with the ability to go to a much further extreme with this prototype which melts glass at a temperature of up to 1,640 C (2,984°F)!

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While the prints may not look too impressive initially, keep in mind that there is currently no quality control on glass rods to ensure that they are the perfect diameter for constant extrusion. With this in mind, you can surely excuse the crude and clumpy results. If Micron 3DP finds the right partner for further development, we could begin to see a whole series of glass created specifically for its printing properties just as we’ve seen in plastic filaments.

Printing in glass could have several benefits. Assuming that there was no contamination from materials in the hot end itself, glass can be food safe and even be used in medical practices. Due to the much higher melting point, glass parts will not be susceptible to warping as plastic parts are.

While glass is fun to imagine, simply having an extruder set up, no matter how crude, that can melt things consistently at that temperature opens up a lot of possibilities. Some fine tuning on temperature and we may see some simple and crude metal printing come out of this as well.

Currently this system is only a prototype, but Micron3DP is seeking a partner to further develop and refine the idea for market.

makezine.com

by  | June 26th, 2015 6:00 am