Sep 10, 2018 | By Thomas

Researchers at the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) and The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) are developing a 3D printed minimally invasive medicinal implant that could deliver a controlled, personalized dose of medicine over several weeks for the treatment of infections as well as ailments such as arthritis, cancer and AIDS. Implanted for localized delivery, the device uses specialized geometric shapes to control drug release and dissolves after treatment.

Image Courtesy of Southwest Research Institute

Led by Albert Zwiener of SwRI's Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Division and Dr. Lyle Hood of UTSA's College of Engineering, the project is supported by a $125,000 grant from the Connecting through Research Partnerships (Connect) program.

"The implant addresses a specific patient's illness in addition to their medical history and other health issues," Zwiener said. "We inject this non-invasive device into the body to deliver medicine over a significant period of time."

UTSA team, led by graduate research assistant Priya Jain, is responsible for designing and 3D printing the implant. The design uses specialized geometric shapes to personalize each device to an individual's ailment and takes advantage of the selective timing and release of the compound. The the implant has a small hole in it with medication inside, as well as one of the polymers they select.

"Then the internal polymer (dissolves) away, and then that drug and your dissolved polymer are both coming out the small hole,” Zwiener said. “So that gives you some means of controlling the release rate in terms of the hole size and the polymer selection."

The team used a specialized 3D printer at UTSA and biodegradable polymer to print the implant. As it degrades, the device releases a drug that has been dissolved within it. It is also not necessary to remove the implant, as it will simply dissolve inside the body when the treatment is complete.

The implant is also engineered to trigger localized immunotherapy for cancer treatments. The SwRI-UTSA team believes that the device's localized treatment capabilities can trigger the body to destroy the invasive cancer.

"If clinically translated, this would allow for doctors and pharmacists to print specific dosages to meet patient's needs," Hood said. "In immunotherapy, most strategies employ systemic circulation through an IV line, much like chemotherapy. This can cause issues with immune reactions far away from the intended target. We hope that by delivering locally, we can keep acute effects constrained to the diseased region."

While the implant is ideal for cancer treatment, it's designed to be drug agnostic, meaning that it can work with any type of drug and could have a significant impact on a wide array of diseases and ailments.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



Maybe you also like:


Leave a comment:

Your Name:


Subscribe us to Feeds twitter facebook   

About provides the latest news about 3D printing technology and 3D printers. We are now seven years old and have around 1.5 million unique visitors per month.

News Archive