Hold your horses! It is not possible to have your own drugstore at home just yet, but the likelihood of being able to print your own pills is high. You can thank Professor Lee Cronin, who is the Gardiner Chair of Chemistry at the University for this.
He has conducted research into the possibility of using a 3D printer to make reactionware. This refers to containers made of a polymer gel. Chemicals are then added to the reactionware, which can then result in various applications – including medication.
The research has been published in Nature Chemistry and seems to hold a lot of potential in the field. Professor Cronin says that they see the development as being used in healthcare, especially in developing countries. He also emphasizes the key role of 3D printers, which are becoming more and more commercially available (and hopefully affordable as well). To quote the professor:
“We could even see 3D printers reach into homes and become fabricators of domestic items, including medications. Perhaps with the introduction of carefully-controlled software ‘apps’, similar to the ones available from Apple, we could see consumers have access to a personal drug designer they could use at home to create the medication they need.”
Professor Cronin’s work is truly groundbreaking, and while there is more to be done before anyone can even think of 3D printing his own version of Advil the next time a headache comes along, the concept can revolutionize the way we live. I wonder what the pharmaceutical companies are going to do about this?