In another medtech first for 3D printing, researchers at Louisiana Tech University (Ruston, LA) have developed a method for using consumer-grade 3D printers and materials to fabricate custom medical implants embedded with antibacterial and chemotherapeutic compounds. 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, according to the team of researchers.
"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," said Jeffery Weisman, a doctoral student in Louisiana Tech's biomedical engineering program. "The material can be loaded with antibiotics or other medicinal compounds, and the implant can be naturally broken down by the body over time."