Exciting work done by a team out of the University of Glasgow promises to deliver 3D printed drugs to your home. Well, they promise to deliver the device that could enable you to print your own prescription drugs in your home.
The ramifications for this are powerful, and could go well beyond “prescription drugs.” The article we feature doesn’t touch upon those ramifications, but imagine, if you will, devices that could be used to anonymously print experimental drugs for people, drugs the FDA has not approved of. This emerging drug-print-tech is yet another powerful tool in the arsenal of those who wish to see the balance of power tilt from coercive associations towards individual and free associations.
…..researchers have tailored a 3D printer to synthesize pharmaceuticals and other chemicals from simple, widely available starting compounds fed into a series of water bottle–size reactors. The work, they say, could digitize chemistry, allowing users to synthesize almost any compound anywhere in the world.
“It could become a milestone paper, a really seminal paper,” says Fraser Stoddart, a chemist and chemistry Nobel laureate at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, who was not involved with the work. “This is one of those articles that has to make [people] sit up and take notice.”
….Leroy Cronin, a chemist at the University of Glasgow in the United Kingdom, was looking for a stand-alone device. He wanted to broaden the ability of nonspecialists to make drugs and other chemicals, in essence “democratizing” chemistry in much the same way MP3 players did for music, by turning songs into a digital code that can be played by any device with the right software.
Cronin’s first stab was a 2012 paper in Nature Chemistry in which he and his colleagues described something he called reactionware, 3D-printed chemical reaction vessels containing catalysts and other components needed to carry out specific reactions inside. By simply adding the starting compounds, Cronin’s team could synthesize a variety of simple compounds, including a ring-containing organic compound called ethylbenzene. At the time, however, Cronin says that critics doubted whether this approach would be useful for making more complex compounds, such as pharmaceuticals. “I like annoying people, scientifically,” he says. So, he pressed on.
It appears the effort payed off. In today’s issue of Science, Cronin and his colleagues report printing a series of interconnected reaction vessels that carry out four different chemical reactions involving 12 separate steps, from filtering to evaporating different solutions. By adding different reagents and solvents at the right times and in a precise order, they were able to convert simple, widely available starting compounds into a muscle relaxant called baclofen. And by designing reactionware to carry out different chemical reactions with different reagents, they produced other medicines, including an anticonvulsant and a drug to fight ulcers and acid reflux.