3D-printed Drugs

New Scientist hat nen interessanten Artikel über 3D-gedruckte Chemikalien und Medikamente. Dazu haben sie zunächst in einem "herkömmlichen" 2000$-3D-Drucker die Reagenzgläser mit Badezimmer-Kitt (kein Scheiß) gedruckt, die exakt auf bestimmte Reaktionen optimiert waren und haben die dann mit dem Drucker mit Chemikalien befüllt. Ich hatte bei 3D-Printing schon die Urheberrechtsproblematik, gedruckte Organe und Auswirkungen auf die Bauwirtschaft auf dem Schirm, aber auf einen Markt für Hobby-Heisenbergs mit homegrown Chrystal Meth bin ich nicht gekommen. Die Wissenschaftler betonen zwar, dass die Systeme für 3D-gedruckte Chemikalien so produziert werden müssten, dass sie sich nicht für die Herstellung von Drogen verwenden ließen, aber das müssen sie ja schließlich sagen und bei Formulierungen "no one would be allowed to hack" grinse ich mir einen.

Den Artikel gibt's nur gegen Anmeldung, deshalb hier ein längerer Snip:

A team of researchers led by chemist Lee Cronin at the University of Glasgow, UK, has made a selection of chemicals using a digital blueprint and a 3D printer costing $2000. The printer prints the lab equipment and then squirts the ingredients into the right places to make the desired chemicals. [...]

"It's a way of democratising chemistry, bringing chemistry to the masses," says Cronin. People in far-flung regions could make their own headache pills or detergent, he suggests. The technique might also allow people to print and share recipes for niche substances that chemical or pharmaceutical companies don't make – because there aren't enough customers, or they simply haven't dreamed up those ideas.

Of course, such freedoms will bring challenges too, including ensuring that drugs are made safely, and dealing with black markets that might offer prescription-only or illegal drugs.

Cronin and his colleagues turned to a version of the $2000 3D printer used in the Fab@Home project, a collaboration aiming to bring self-fabrication into the home. They discovered that they could use a common bathroom sealant as the primary material for printing reaction chambers of all shapes and sizes, as well as connection tubes of varying lengths. After the kit had set hard, the printer's nozzles squirted in the reactants, or "chemical inks" (see diagram).

In principle, the dimensions of the equipment and chemical ingredients required to produce a particular product can all be pre-designed and embedded in the same software blueprint – all a user needs to do is download it and feed it to the printer. The researchers envisage an online store where you download an app for a particular drug to your 3D printer and order a standard set of chemical inks.

Potential health dangers from allowing people to print their own legal or illegal drugs would be minimised, says Cronin, as his team would only write software for specific end products that would be difficult to modify into making other reactions. "We would have pre-evaluated the reactions in the lab so no one would be allowed to hack."

Make your own Drugs with a 3D-Printer