At the University of Southern California, cancer patients are getting help from an unexpected source: 3D printing.
Developed 30 years ago, this innovative process of creating three-dimensional or actual objects from a digital image has redefined what printing means. Now, it is getting attention in the medical field where professionals are using it to create new drugs, prosthetics, and even organs.
Drugs and Medicine
With 3D printing, filament manufacturers now have clients who need materials to produce medicine such as pills or tablets. The US Food and Drug Administration approved the first 3D-printed prescription drug. This could lower current prices of drugs on the market, making them more accessible to patients.
Compared with traditional ways of creating prosthetics, 3D printing makes personalized and lightweight prosthetics possible. This will come in handy because patients can adjust their 3D-printed prosthetics during their recovery period.
Another advantage is that doctors-in-training can now use 3D-printed replicas of human parts to practice or simulate surgeries. Because 3D printing is a quick process, doctors can have as many replicas as needed in a short amount of time.
Perhaps the most significant contribution would be 3D-printed organs. It has always been a problem for patients to find organ donors, let alone foreign organs that are compatible with their bodies.
3D-printed organs will help cancer patients the most because of the ability to quickly make replacements for organs with rare donors, such as bone marrows.
More and more professionals in the medical field now use 3D printing to manufacture pills, prosthetics and organs. Experts expect this innovation to reduce costs as well as simplify treatments. Indeed, the medical potential of 3D printing is something to watch out for.