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A Bright Future for Time-Lapse Drug Emitting Implants for Infection and Even Cancer Treatment through Affordable 3D Printing


Paige Anne Carter

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One of the biggest obstacles that the medical world confronts when it comes to 3D Bio-printing is the cost of the printers which can go for US$300,000 or more. But a recent development by the Louisiana Tech University researchers showed that it was possible to create drug emitting implants with a MakerBot Replicator which is an affordable desktop 3D printer. This has opened a lot of avenues for the medical world to create innovative ways of prototyping possibilities to treat diseases and patients alike at a very affordable cost.

The study did not only overcome the issue of expensive 3D bio printers but it also solved the problem of current drug delivery processes where most of drug implants are embedded in either plastic or hand-mixed bone cements. The problem with the former is that a second surgery is needed to remove the remnants of the plastic after the drug has been utilized; while the latter contains carcinogenic materials which could in time defeat the purpose of the drug implant.

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(Typical Drug Implant and not 3D Printed)

So what the researchers did, along with their nanosystems engineering team at Extrusionbot, LLC they fabricated a customized drug emitting implant that can slowly release the drug into a localized area of the body. The remaining shell of the implant is easily broken down by the body through natural processes. This then eliminates the carcinogenic risks or a second surgery just to remove the implant. And lastly, what’s great about the research is that you can create drug implants according to the specific size and shape that you need. This simply means a more targeted and efficient drug treatment process with lesser side effects.

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