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

First bionic man

Science-Fiction Turned Into Reality: 3D Printing Bionic Body Parts

http://goo.gl/cDH4AO

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3D printing has captured a lot of attention thanks to its science fiction connotations. In reality, 3D printing is anything but fiction since it’s available in many households – even as a sophisticated toy for kids.

Clearly, 3D printing is more than a passing curiosity, and with researchers from Princeton now able to create “bionic” body parts using 3D printing techniques, the world’s first bionic man may be here sooner than you think.

As part of a project demonstrating new 3D printing techniques, Princeton researchers embedded tiny light-emitting diodes into a standard contact lens, allowing the device to project beams of colored light. The researchers have not developed this lens for human use in the eye, but it is part of an ongoing effort to use 3D printing to assemble diverse, and often hard-to-combine, materials into functioning devices. Princeton professors also created a bionic ear made from living cells with an embedded antenna that could receive radio signals. Thus, restoring a person’s hearing for the first time.

This sends me back to my childhood to Steve Austin and the TV series “The Six Million Dollar Man” where a former test pilot is rebuilt with nuclear powered limbs and implants that make him faster, stronger and better than normal.

Bionic strength of 3D printing

Traditional manufacturing methods depend on cutting and molding technologies to create a limited number of structures and shapes, with more intricate hollow ones formed from a number of parts and assembled together. However, 3D printing technology transforms this process—the nozzle of the 3D printer can create many complex figures, being confined only by a person’s imagination. The use of 3D printing technology takes virtual designs from animation modeling software or computer-aided design (CAD), converts them into thin, virtual, flat cross-sections and then produces successive layers until the complete model is produced.

For the Princeton researchers, one of 3D printing’s greatest strengths is its ability to create electronics in complex forms. Unlike traditional electronics manufacturing, which builds circuits in flat assemblies and then stacks them into three dimensions, 3D printers can create vertical structures as easily as horizontal ones.

Will 3D printing replace traditional manufacturing?

Manufacturing experts do not envision 3D printing replacing traditional manufacturing in electronics any time soon. Instead, 3D is seen as a complementary technology. Traditional manufacturing is a fast and efficient way to make multiple copies with high reliability. Manufacturers use 3D printing, which is slower when it comes to higher numbers of copies, but easy to change and customize, to create molds and patterns for rapid prototyping.

Blinking contact lenses and bionic ears are two perfect examples that may sound weird in the beginning, but show that the work of interdisciplinary R&D teams using latest technology can result in true innovation – and generate new use cases that one has not even dreamt of before.

With all the talk in the press about enhanced robotics, the internet of things and systems engineering, I think we can soon rebuild Steve Austin.

FORBES.COM
by Nadine Huelsen, Director, Product Lifecycle Management, SAP and also SAP guest | JAN 23, 2015 @ 3:29 PM