Saturday 8 August 2015

In a First, Drug Using 3D Printing Technology Gets FDA Nod

Photo: AFP Relaxnews
3D printing right from the start was a revolutionary idea i.e. to recreate the exact replicas of existing objects from a template by using the material of your choice. And as days pass by, you can see all sorts of things being done from weapons to vehicles to even whole buildings – all printed. Drugs are now no stranger to this either as a 3D printed drug for the first time has been approved by U.S. Food and Drug Adminstration.

The first of 3D printed drug

Well, while it was inevitable, what it does is even more powerful. Drug synthesis generally follows the “one-fits-all” philosophy to cater to as large a diversity as possible and in the process make it less effective with more side-effects. But the 3D printed drug is specific to the patient’s bodily systems and is thus way more effective.

The drug was made by Aprecia Pharmaceuticals Co., and was approved for oral ingestion as a prescribed medicine for adjunctive therapy. It is being used in the treatment of epilepsy. Spritam, as the drug goes by, uses a special “ZipDose” technology which is nothing but a delivery system whereby measured dozes are ingested and they break down in mouth with a sip of the liquid.

What it means?

The approval is a significant step forward in the field of personalized treatment where instead of general drugs, specific drugs are created, synthesized and prescribed leading to more effective treatment with minimal side effects. Until now, most uses of 3D printing in medical field was for the creation of body parts like prosthetic arms and legs, and dental implants and some of the advanced works in creation of whole organs by 3D printing. Even bone replacement are also being carried out with the help of 3D printing. But this creation of the 3D printed drug gives it a new direction.

Personalized treatment has many in th proverbial sense, a “holy-grail” of medicine and with this technology, that might just come true. Especially so with the first successful trials and approval, there is more incentive now to offer such services and more research into it.

The future

One can already envision a future of medical care where medicines are created on labs and then synthesized in 3D printers based on each individual’s characteristics. Also, there are ongoing research in UK regarding recreation of cancerous parts of the body to replace them for patients suffering from so.

Such advancement with technological augmentation means that a more safer future where most diseases are either eradicated or can be treated with relative ease. But predictions are hard to make and especially so about the future. However with a good amount of research and ingenuity, human kind can finally conquer all diseases where none of them are lethal and treatment takes a short amount of time, less chemicals and in general is more effective.

One can only hope that further use and research of 3D printing in pharmaceuticals will bring in more effective drugs with less side-effects!

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