3D Printed Drug Delivering Medical Devices

Category: Blog,From Academia
Dec 16, 2020

In this issue, we included three recent publications all focusing on 3D printed drug delivering medical devices that can be personalized. The first article presented the design and effectiveness of an antibiotics-loaded 3D printed personalized hearing aid. The second article presented five different 3D printing designs of biodegradable subcutaneous implants for drug delivery. The final article focuses on designing calcium phosphate-based bone scaffold that also has a controllable antimicrobial function.

From Academia” features recent, relevant, close to commercialization academic publications. Subjects include but not limited to healthcare 3D printing, 3D bioprinting, and related emerging technologies.

Email: Rance Tino ([email protected]) if you want to share relevant academic publications with us.

Anti-biofilm multi drug-loaded 3D printed hearing aids

Authored by María Vivero-Lopez, Xiaoyan Xu, Andrea Muras, Ana Oteroc Angel Concheiro, Simon Gaisford, Abdul W. Basit, Carmen Alvarez-Lorenzo, Alvaro Goyanes. Materials Science and Engineering: C. 1 February 2020

3D Printed Drug Delivering Medical Devices
(A) 3D scan model of the hearing aid; DLP 3D printed hearing aids using (B) ENG hard resin and (C) Flexible resin. In (B) and (C) from left to right, hearing aids fabricated without drug, with ciprofloxacin-fluocinolone acetonide 6%–0.5% and 12%–1%, respectively. Scale in cm. Copyright Materials Science and Engineering: C


Over 5% of the world’s population has disabling hearing loss, which affects approximately one third of individuals over 65 years. Hearing aids are commonly used in this population group, but prolonged use of these devices may cause ear infections.

We describe for the first time, the use of 3D printing to fabricate hearing aids loaded with two antibiotics, ciprofloxacin and fluocinolone acetonide.

Digital light processing 3D printing was employed to manufacture hearing aids from two polymer resins, ENG hard and Flexible. The inclusion of the antibiotics did not affect the mechanical properties of the hearing aids. All multi-drug-loaded devices exhibited a hydrophilic surface, excellent blood compatibility and anti-biofilm activity against P. aeruginosa and S. aureus.

Hearing aids loaded with ciprofloxacin (6% w/w) and fluocinolone acetonide (0.5% w/w) sustained drug release for more than two weeks and inhibited biofilm formation on the surface of the devices and bacteria growth in the surrounding medium.

In summary, this work highlights the potential of vat photopolymerization 3D printing as a versatile manufacturing approach to fabricate high-fidelity patient-specific medical devices with anti-bacterial properties.

3D Printed Drug Delivering Medical Devices
X-ray micro-CT images of the hearing devices. Copyright Materials Science and Engineering

Development of a Biodegradable Subcutaneous Implant for Prolonged Drug Delivery Using 3D Printing

Authored Sarah A. Stewart, Juan Domínguez-Robles , Victoria J. McIlorum ,Elena Mancuso, Dimitrios A. Lamprou,Ryan F. Donnelly and Eneko Larrañeta, MDPI Pharmaceutics. 30 December 2019 


Implantable drug delivery devices offer many advantages over other routes of drug delivery. Most significantly, the delivery of lower doses of drug, thus, potentially reducing side-effects and improving patient compliance.

Three dimensional (3D) printing is a flexible technique, which has been subject to increasing interest in the past few years, especially in the area of medical devices. The present work focussed on the use of 3D printing as a tool to manufacture implantable drug delivery devices to deliver a range of model compounds (methylene blue, ibuprofen sodium, and ibuprofen acid) in two in vitro models.

Five implant designs were produced, and the release rate varied, depending on the implant design and the drug properties. Additionally, a rate controlling membrane was produced, which further prolonged the release from the produced implants, signaling the potential use of these devices for chronic conditions.

3D printing of calcium phosphate scaffolds with controlled release of antibacterial functions for jaw bone repair

Authored Huan Sun, Cheng Hu, Changchun Zhou, Lina Wu, Jianxun Sun, Xuedong Zhou, Fei Xing, Cheng Long, Qingquan Kong, Jie Liang, Yujiang Fan, Xingdong Zhang. Materials & Design. April 2020


Jaw bone repair requires a scaffold with bone regeneration, antibacterial function, and personalized size.

This study proposed 3D printed degradable calcium phosphate scaffolds with antibacterial functions for the regeneration of jaw bone.

Calcium phosphate powders and berberine were combined to modulate the printing inks. Porous scaffolds were fabricated by direct extrusion 3D printing and cross-linked with sodium alginate in situ. The dimensional size, shape, and porosity of scaffolds were precisely customized by 3D printing.

Berberine-loaded scaffolds show the sustained release of antimicrobial drugs. By adjusting the concentration and cross-linking time of calcium chloride, the cross-linking degree of the scaffold can be adjusted and the drug load of the scaffold can be controlled. The young’s modulus of the 3DP scaffold was about 1.3 MPa. After freeze-drying, the shrinkage was about 24.4% and less swelling was observed, indicating that the scaffold had sufficient structural stability.

In vitro biological test showed that the 3DP scaffold had low cytotoxicity and it was beneficial to MC3T3 cell adhesion and proliferation. 3D printed calcium phosphate scaffolds with controlled-release antibacterial properties are promising biomaterials for jaw repair.

3D Printed Drug Delivering Medical Devices
This figure showed the antibacterial effect of different drug concentrations and scaffold pore sizes. (0) Control group has 0% BBR, 300 μm; (1) Group 1 has 0.025% BBR, 300 μm; (3) Group 3 has 0.1% BBR, 300 μm; (4) Group 4 has 0.2% BBR, 300 μm; (A) Group 2-A has 0.05% BBR, 150 μm; (B) Group 2-B has 0.05% BBR, 300 μm; (C) Group 2-C has 0.05% BBR, 450 μm; (D) Group 2-D has 0.05% BBR, 600 μm. (E) The curve of BBR released. (F) The results of the diameter of the bacteriostatic zone are obtained by statistic and analysis software. Copyright Materials & Design

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3DHEALS Guides (Collective) – This is where we dive deep into subjects that you will find helpful for your projects and career.

3DEALS Expert Corner (Collective) – This is where we invite field experts to write their perspectives in a first-person narrative. To write for this column, please email: [email protected]

3DHEALS From Academia (Collective) – This section features recent, relevant, close to commercialization academic publications in the space of healthcare 3D printing, 3D bioprinting, and related emerging technologies.

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