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 3D printed pill

http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/architecture-design-blog/2015/aug/05/the-first-3d-printed-pill-opens-up-a-world-of-downloadable-medicine

Pink Pills

The first 3D-printed pill opens up a world of downloadable medicine

Now that the US has approved a 3D-printed drug, pharmaceuticals companies in the UK are hoping their patents will be next – from the pyramid-shaped pill-makers to the man who has done for drugs what Apple did for music.

With architects printing lumpy plastic houses, fashion designers printing oddly-shaped dresses and food companies printing dodgy-looking hamburgers, the hype around 3D printing can often seem like a novelty. But news that the world’s first 3D-printed drug has just been approved suggests that, beyond the realm of personalised plastic trinkets, the technology still has a huge amount to offer.

Developed by Ohio-based pharmaceutical company Aprecia, Spritam levetiracetam is a new drug to control seizures brought on by epilepsy. Approved by the US Food and Drug Administration this week, it employs the company’s trademark “ZipDose” technology, which uses 3D printing to create a more porous pill. Its structure means the pill dissolves more quickly on contact with liquid, making it much easier to swallow high doses than a conventional tablet.

The 3D printing process also allows layers of medication to be packaged more tightly in precise dosages, and it points to a future of more personalised medicine. 3D-printed pills could be custom-ordered, based on specific patient needs, rather than on a one-drug-fits-all approach.

“For the last 50 years, we have manufactured tablets in factories and shipped them to hospitals,” said Dr Mohamed Albed Alhnan, a lecturer in pharmaceutics at the University of Central Lancashire. “For the first time, this process means we can produce tablets much closer to the patient.” By making slight adjustments to the software before printing, hospitals could adjust doses for individual patients, a process of personalisation that is otherwise prohibitively expensive.

The porous pill technology could also have important benefits for other drugs, according to Marvin Rorick, a neurologist at Riverhills Neuroscience in Cincinnati. “In my experience, patients and caregivers often have difficulty following a treatment regimen,” he said. “Whether they are dealing with a swallowing disorder or the daily struggle of getting a child to take his or her medication, adherence can be a challenge. Especially for children and seniors, having an option for patients to take their medication as prescribed is important to managing this disease.”

While 3D printing has already been embraced in other medical fields – from printing new jawbones in facial reconstruction to custom-shaped teeth and other dental implants, as well as producing personalised prosthetics – this is the first time the technology has been approved for the production of drugs; and it won’t be the last time.

Researchers at the School of Pharmacy of University College London have been developing a technique to 3D-print pills in different shapes, from pyramids to doughnuts, using a technique known as “hot melt extrusion”. The different forms, which would be hard to manufacture using standard production techniques, release drugs at different rates. Their research has found that the rate of drug release is dependent not on surface area, but on the surface area-to-volume ratio. A pyramid-shaped pill, for example, releases a drug slower than a cube or a sphere, allowing absorption to be controlled.

While the Spritam pill similarly uses 3D printing primarily to change the physical structure of the pill, other researchers have been working on how the technology could be used to develop new drugs at a molecular level. Professor Lee Cronin at Glasgow University has been working on a “chemputer”, a sort of 3D-printing chemistry set, which can be programmed to make chemical reactions and produce different molecules. Describing the process as similar to what Apple did for music, he envisages a world where patients will be able to download the “recipes” for drugs and print them at home. In the future, he suggests, we won’t be buying drugs, so much as blueprints or apps.

theguardian.com

by  | Wednesday 5 August 2015