Tag Archives: drugs

Top 3D Printing News Last Week: MakerBot Digitizer, SXSW, Shoes, Drugs

MakerBot Digitzer 3D Printing

A roundup of the top 3D printing news from March 4 to March 10:

Tuesday, March 5

Biofabrication: Scientists 3D Print Stem Cells to Create Human Organs

3D Printing Stem Cells

Scientists from Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland, have developed a technique for 3D printing human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), claiming that this research could be advanced to eventually 3D print human organs. In the short-term, this technique could be used for more reliable drug testing.

Dr Will Shu, from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, told BBC: “We found that the valve-based printing is gentle enough to maintain high stem cell viability, accurate enough to produce spheroids of uniform size, and most importantly, the printed hESCs maintained their pluripotency – the ability to differentiate into any other cell type.”

Here is a video from Sky News featuring the Edinburgh lab and an interview with Dr. Will Shu.

The team’s research has been published in the  journal Biofabrication.

3D Printing Stem Cells Edinburgh Team

More from BBC:

Jason King, business development manager of stem cell biotech company Roslin Cellab, which took part in the research, said: “Normally laboratory grown cells grow in 2D but some cell types have been printed in 3D.

“However, up to now, human stem cell cultures have been too sensitive to manipulate in this way.

“This is a scientific development which we hope and believe will have immensely valuable long-term implications for reliable, animal-free, drug testing, and, in the longer term, to provide organs for transplant on demand, without the need for donation and without the problems of immune suppression and potential organ rejection.”


Researchers Use Nano-Scale 3D Printing to Combat Prostate Cancer

Nano 3D Printing Prostate Cancer Drug

Advanced nano-scale 3D printing techniques are being used to develop new drugs for prostate cancer and other applications. Parabon NanoLabs in Reston, Virginia is conducting this groundbreaking research with support from the National Science Foundation and other grants.

Using a simple “drag-and-drop” computer interface and DNA self-assembly techniques, researchers have developed a new approach for drug development that could drastically reduce the time required to create and test medications.

“We can now ‘print,’ molecule by molecule, exactly the compound that we want,” says Steven Armentrout, the principal investigator on the NSF grants and co-developer of Parabon’s technology. “What differentiates our nanotechnology from others is our ability to rapidly, and precisely, specify the placement of every atom in a compound that we design.”

The new technology is called the Parabon Essemblix Drug Development Platform, and it combines their computer-aided design (CAD) software called inSēquio with nanoscale fabrication technology.

Scientists work within inSēquio to design molecular pieces with specific, functional components. The software then optimizes the design using the Parabon Computation Grid, a cloud supercomputing platform that uses proprietary algorithms to search for sets of DNA sequences that can self-assemble those components.


Read the full brief at NSF.gov.

Medicine photo by epSos.de used under Creative Commons license.

3D Printing Controversy Continues: TechCrunch Stirs the Pot

3D Printing Controversy Panic

TechCrunch published an article about the controversial side of 3D printing: how the technology can be used for dangerous goods or piracy. Here is an excerpt:

3D printers can also print guns and synthetic chemical compounds (aka drugs). In July, user HaveBlue reported on the AR15 forum that he had used a mid-1990s. 3D printer to create a fully functional .22 caliber gun. He wrote: “It’s had over 200 rounds of .22 [caliber rounds] through it so far and runs great!” The 3D printed portion of the gun was printed in plastic with a reported material cost of about $100.

The potential policy implications are obvious. If high-quality weapons can be printed by anyone with a 3D printer, and 3D printers are widely available, then law enforcement agencies will be forced to monitor what you’re printing in order to maintain current gun control laws. Otherwise, guns could become more widely available and firearms permits won’t matter to someone like James Holmes or Jeffrey Johnson. They can circumvent firearms laws by simply printing their weapons from a 3D printer for under $100.

That is, unless federal agencies monitor every CAD file sent to a printer, whether or not it is harmless. Monitoring of every file sent to a printer means that federal agencies would need access to every home and office network.

It is likely impossible that the government will be able to successfully prevent every illicit item from being printed, chiefly because a 3D printer would not have to be connected to the internet to print from a local computer. However, you can expect that a time will come when perhaps well-meaning politicians will attempt to prevent guns and synthetic drugs from being created using 3D printers. If passed, the resulting laws would be draconian in their invasion of privacy while simultaneously ineffectual in preventing the creation of the products they seek to prohibit.

Either we allow for the ambiguity that freedom and unregulated 3D printing will bring, or we enforce far-reaching laws that may decrease liberty without changing results.  For those who appreciate the internet because of its democratizing effects and freedom, I believe the choice is clear. We should decide now that we will oppose any law that attempts to undermine freedom on the internet, no matter the consequences.

This controversy will only grow as 3D printing progresses along the Hype Cycle.

Here is our view: 3D printing will disrupt the global supply chain and create a market for producing goods locally. It will revolutionize medical procedures and enable innovation in product design. Bad people will do bad things, but overall this technology will bring about positive change in the world.


Panic button photo by ilovememphis used under Creative Commons license.