RUSTON, La. A team of researchers at Louisiana Tech University has developed an innovative method for using affordable, consumer-grade 3D printers and materials to fabricate custom medical implants that can contain antibacterial and chemotherapeutic compounds for targeted drug delivery.
The team comprised of doctoral students and research faculty from Louisiana Tech's biomedical engineering and nanosystems engineering programs collaborated to create filament extruders that can make medical-quality 3D printing filaments. Creating these filaments, which have specialized properties for drug delivery, is a new concept that can result in smart drug delivering medical implants or catheters.
"After identifying the usefulness of the 3D printers, we realized there was an opportunity for rapid prototyping using this fabrication method," said Jeffery Weisman, a doctoral student in Louisiana Tech's biomedical engineering program. "Through the addition of nanoparticles and/or other additives, this technology becomes much more viable using a common 3D printing material that is already biocompatible. The material can be loaded with antibiotics or other medicinal compounds, and the implant can be naturally broken down by the body over time."
According to Weisman, personalized medicine and patient specific medication regiments is a current trend in healthcare. He says this new method of creating medically compatible 3D printing filaments will offer hospital pharmacists and physicians a novel way to deliver drugs and treat illness.
"One of the greatest benefits of this technology is that it can be done using any consumer printer and can be used anywhere in the world," Weisman said.
Weisman, who works out of a lab directed by Dr. David K. Mills, professor of biological sciences and biomedical engineering, partnered with Connor Nicholson, a doctoral candidate in nanosystems engineering and member of a lab operated by Dr. Chester Wi
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Louisiana Tech University