From creating intricate guitars to delicious pieces of chocolate, 3D printing is moving beyond the realm of making simple models and into the realm of creating useful things. And thanks to researchers at University of Glasgow, this cutting-edge technology could take an incredible new turn that could save millions of lives: A 3D printer capable of creating drugs.
Professor Lee Cronin and his team introduced the tech in a research paper, published in Nature Chemistry. The researchers modified a currently available 3D printer they purchased for $2,000, adding vessels with chemicals in them. In doing so, they created what they call "reactionware," a far cheaper, smaller scale version of incredibly expensive chemical engineering equipment.
The innovation could expand access to expensive cancer drugs, allowing pharmacies to fill prescriptions for patients on demand or even allowing patients to print their own medicine from home. According to Cronin, "we could use 3D printers to revolutionize access to health care in the developing world, allowing diagnosis and treatment to happen in a much more efficient and economical way than is possible now."