April 23, 2014

3D printing is about to revolutionize all sorts of industries, but the hard question is, how soon until it's possible to 3D print drugs? Perhaps sooner than you think.

An unusual paper, a manuscript written by Taiwanese researcher Calvin Yu-Chian Chen was published in Drug Discovery Today, which was received on Dec.2, 2013 and accepted for publication on March 31, 2014.

The paper, titled "DrugPrinter: print any drug instantly", proposes a drugprinter, an all-in-one 3D molecular level printer that can 'print' a compound in only one step. Basically it uses optical tweezers to synthesize drugs atom-by-atom. "It is fast, 100% yield, and no by-products." the paper writes.

In drug discovery, de novo potent leads need to be synthesized for bioassay experiments in a very short time. Here, a protocol using DrugPrinter to print out any compound in just one step is proposed. The de novo compound could be designed by cloud computing big data. The computing systems could then search the optimal synthesis condition for each bond–bond interaction from databases. The compound would then be fabricated by many tiny reactors in one step. This type of fast, precise, without by product, reagent-sparing, environmentally friendly, small-volume, large-variety, nanofabrication technique will totally subvert the current view on the manufactured object and lead to a huge revolution in pharmaceutical companies in the very near future.

The paper tells all the steps that you would need to print a molecule, and says the DrugPrinter technology should be feasible within 20 years. Chen predicts that their team will make the prototype of DrugPrinter available within five years.

The concept of the DrugPrinter reactor chamber comes from a traditional Chinese egg-cake oven, a modular stainless oven can make different shapes of cake.

How it works:

The DrugPrinter, is divided into four parts. (a) Is the element storage, just like a printer toner cartridge from a color laser printer. The chamber for element storage will be divided into three parts based on the character of each atom–basically according to the catalog of elements from the periodic table. Roughly, there are three categories: nonmetals, metals and transition metals.

(b) Is the pipeline for atom transfer to the next stage.


In (c) there are two ways for the atom to fly into the specific position. Plasma or a laser will to make the atom fly to let the optical tweezers catch it. The optical tweezers (c) will catch and control an atom to the right position.


The atom will need to be put in the specific position, hence there are six optical tweezers for 3D moving control. Thus, the atom is moved to the specific position (d), which is the tiny pan- cake reactors, for to fabricate the de novo compound or nanomaterial, for which the chemical structure has been drawn in a computer.

But how to get an atom to the specific position, the paper proposes four methods that can be used to put the single specific atom into a specific position in the prepared mold. One is using the optical tweezers, which would be a very expensive method. Another is using plasma just like physical vapor deposition (PVD), allowing only a single atom to fly into the channel and lead the atom to the intended position of the mold. The third method is to use a nozzle similar to the printer or biochip with a robotic arm, and the fourth is to use the electromagnetic field to catch the charged atom.

For the big data of DrugPrinter, the paper says the team has built a world-first intelligent cloud computing drug screening system called iScreen and an integrated webserver to allow users to upload their desired compound and search optimal of the chemical reaction immediately. All the bond–bond reactions will be collected in the system by cloud computing.

The idea in this paper is certainly interesting, but there is no details about how to magically form the bond between so many molecular model pieces, and no reaction mechanisms, reactivity and other details are mentioned. Is it an April fools joke, a picture of the future or is it really feasible?

In 2012, Professor Lee Cronin, a scientist at Glasgow University, claimed to have prototyped a 3D printer capable of assembling chemical compounds on the molecular level. Using a chemical 3D printer, dubbed a 'chemputer' that could be programmed to make basic chemical reactions, they print the reagents directly into the 3D-reactionware matrix to initiate chemical reactions.

According to Cronin, users would go to an online drugstore with their digital prescription, buy the "blueprint" and the chemical "ink" which comes pre-sealed in a safe cartridge, and then print the drug at home with software and a 3D molecular printer.

"If it works, it will redefine nanotechnology as it should have been," said Lee Cronin.



Posted in 3D Printing Technology

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loos wrote at 1/7/2016 12:41:18 PM:


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