In ‘Application of Micro-Scale 3D Printing in Pharmaceutics,’ authors Andrew Kjar and Yu Huang of Utah State University examine the advantages of fabricating drugs on the micro-scale. As they point out, creating 3D printed drug delivery systems can be difficult due to challenges in reaching the specific target—without side effects whenever possible.
The ability to create patient-specific treatment has been limited also, mainly because through traditional methods, it is challenging to produce a dose size for every patient—leading to the splitting of doses. Most manufacturers also find it difficult to vary dose shapes.
“Inflexible dosage regimes highlight a need in the pharmaceutical industry that cannot be met through current manufacturing methods,” state the researchers. “Thus, innovative solutions are necessary.”
Innovative drug systems are being created in labs around the world via 3D printing and additive manufacturing processes, specifically for delivery and devices like tablets. Spritam is an example of the one of the most famous 3D printed drugs—as well as the first to be approved by the FDA. Novel dosage pills are being created, along with more streamlined drug delivery systems.
“Hypodermal needles are common for drug delivery in which oral ingestion is inappropriate; the method, however, is invasive,” explain the researchers. “Additive manufacturing provides alternative solutions for minimally invasive delivery through the design of microneedle arrays.”
These arrays are beneficial in:
- Improving patient compliance
- Decreasing pain and tissue damage
- Decreasing need for skilled healthcare professionals for administration
- Inhibiting microbial entrance
“Additionally, transdermally delivered drugs can elicit a higher immunogenic response and increased bioavailability,” state the researchers, while also pointing out that 3D printing of microneedle arrays is still constrained by feature resolution.
These arrays do, however, show potential for prolonged release—especially with the use of inkjet 3D printing. And as drug delivery systems often include extremely specific targets (cancer treatments, for example), those may difficult to reach. Both micro-swimmer devices and micro implants have been created to solve these issues. Drug release may often be ‘biphasic,’ with one short release of medication then followed by a longer one (in some cases, up to 80 days). The researchers state that there are ‘clear benefits’ to the uses of such 3D printed devices.
3D printed models also offer a host of benefits to everyone involved in the medical realm—from the patient and their family to the doctor and the surgeon—to medical students. Along with being helpful in diagnosis and treatment, 3D printed models can also be of enormous assistance in surgeries. And while models have made an enormous impact in patient-specific treatment, there is, of course, the goal of creating human organs for transplant. Today, bioprinting has progressed to allow impressive tissue engineering, most commonly of the following:
- Adipose tissue
What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts! Join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com. [Source / Images: ‘Application of Micro-Scale 3D Printing in Pharmaceutics’]
“The goal of engineering systems is to provide the optimal cell response for use in drug development, allowing for data with better translational and predictive qualities. Besides the use of bioprinted scaffolds for application in drug discovery and organ-on-a-chip and microfluidic devices are also emerging as alternatives that may be created via additive manufacturing,” conclude the researchers.
“The future is bright for the use of additive manufacturing in the pharmaceutical field; however, this future is not without obstacles.”
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