From Pharma-Grade Filaments to Capsular Delivery Systems
I believe that the future of healthcare may rely on personalized medicine. According to the FDA, this means “the tailoring of medical treatment to the individual characteristics, needs, and preferences of a patient during all stages of care, including prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up”. But today’s therapeutic approach is quite the opposite: drugs don’t adapt to patients; instead patients have to adapt to mass-produced medications with a fixed dosage and release performance. Our research team has been investigating innovative manufacturing technologies to develop custom drug delivery systems, and one area of interest for us is 3D printing.
For years, we have been looking at capsular devices that act as containers for different types of drugs and formulations, releasing their contents depending on the characteristics of the shell (in terms of composition, shape, wall thickness, presence of openings, slots and internal cavities). These capsules have been prepared by injection molding and, more recently, we decided to see if it was feasible also to use fused deposition modeling (FDM, see 3D Printing 101).
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