- Say hello to the future of medicine: 3D printed tablets that take a mere 7 seconds to make.
- The brilliant minds from the University of Santiago de Compostela, MERLN Institute University College London (UCL), and UCL’s spin-out FabRx are leading this innovation.
- 3D printed medicines aren’t just sci-fi mumbo jumbo anymore; they’re here, and they’re evolving quickly.
- Beyond speed, this tech could revolutionize how we view personalized medicine, making it far more viable and accessible.
- 3D printed drugs might just be the answer for high-speed, on-demand medication production in busy clinical settings.
Transforming the Healthscape: How 3D Printing is Turbocharging Medicine Production
Did you know that we live in a world where Star Trek-level tech isn’t just for the silver screen? Oh yes, friends. As we speak, researchers are hard at work making the miraculous mundane, and we’re about to dive into one of these breakthroughs.
3D Printing Tablets: The Speedy Solution to Custom Medication
Remember when 3D printing was just for hobbyists and enthusiasts, used for creating knick-knacks and prototypes? Well, the days of 3D printing being confined to the world of arts and crafts are long gone. Now, it’s penetrating the health sector, and its newest achievement is nothing short of mind-blowing.
Researchers from the University of Santiago de Compostela, MERLN Institute University College London (UCL), and UCL spin-out FabRx, are now 3D printing tablets in under seven seconds! You read that right – in the time it takes you to tie your shoelaces, these guys have a fresh tablet ready to pop.
This isn’t your usual 3D printing, oh no. The standard process, called vat photopolymerization, prints pills layer by layer. It’s a slow and steady race. But these folks decided to put the pedal to the metal with a new approach, volumetric printing, curing an entire vat of resin in one go. The endgame? To make custom medication production faster and more efficient.
And this isn’t just some pie in the sky dream. Alvaro Goyanes, one of the UCL scientists involved, believes personalized 3D printed medicines are on the fast track to reality. Best case scenario? They could be used in health services within three to five years. Imagine, in the time it takes to train for a marathon, we could be using 3D printed medication.
FabRx: The Game Changer in Personalized Medicine
Since 2016, the medical field has been in an arms race, using 3D printing technology to forge new paths in medicine. Take Aprecia, for example. They became pioneers in 3D printed medicine with the launch of Spiritam, the first FDA-approved 3D printed drug. Since then, it’s been a constant uphill climb, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible.
By 2020, researchers in Pakistan had proved it possible to 3D print antibiotics with optimized drug-release rates. And over at St. John’s University, a team came up with a way to 3D print egg-shaped capsules designed to be crush-resistant, keeping prescribed opioids safe from abuse.
But one company, FabRx, is making waves. They’ve been on a mission to develop personalized medicine, and their tool of choice is 3D printing. From creating braille-patterned printlets for the visually impaired to launching the M3DIMAKER, a multi-nozzle 3D printer capable of producing prescribed pills on-demand, they’re pioneering the field.
Despite all these advances, FabRx wasn’t done. Working with colleagues at Universidade de Santiago de Compostela and UCL, they developed a smartphone-powered tablet 3D printer. Using a modified M3DIMAKER, the team was able to produce customized blood-thinning capsules. But while this was a monumental step, it wasn’t the end game.
Breaking the Speed Barrier: Volumetric 3D Printing
As exciting as these developments are, they all share a common Achilles’ heel: speed. Traditional 3D printing techniques just don’t cut it for on-demand medicine production in a fast-paced clinical setting. So, what’s the workaround?
Enter volumetric printing. This approach allows for rapid polymerization of large quantities of resin, solving the throughput problem that’s been hampering 3D printed medication. So how does it work? It involves manipulating light in a very controlled way, allowing it to solidify vats of resin all at once. How cool is that?
This breakthrough method lets researchers produce pills at a blistering pace – anywhere from 7 to 17 seconds per pill. Think about it. In the time it takes to brew a cup of coffee, these folks can churn out hundreds of pills. It’s a game-changer, my friends.
We’re living in an age where technology is blurring the line between science fiction and reality. 3D printing, once a novelty, is revolutionizing healthcare, allowing us to dream of a world where custom medication is the norm, not the exception. But remember, while we marvel at these breakthroughs, let’s not forget the human ingenuity that made it all possible. And who knows? In the not-too-distant future, our daily pills might just come straight from a 3D printer.