Researchers have 3-D printed customised catheters, stents and filaments that have the ability to deliver antibiotics and chemotherapeutic medications to a targeted area in cell cultures.
3-D printing could become a powerful tool in customising interventional radiology treatments to individual patient needs, with clinicians having the ability to construct devices to a specific size and shape, researchers said.
“3-D printing allows for tailor-made materials for personalised medicine,” said Horacio R D’Agostino, lead researcher and an interventional radiologist at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center (LSUH) in Shreveport.
“It gives us the ability to construct devices that meet patients’ needs, from their unique anatomy to specific medicine requirements. And as tools in interventional radiology, these devices are part of treatment options that are less invasive than traditional surgery,” he added.
Using 3-D printing technology and resorbable bioplastics, D’Agostino and his team of biomedical engineers and nanosystem engineers at LSUH and Louisiana Tech University developed bioactive filaments, chemotherapy beads, and catheters and stents containing antibiotics or chemotherapeutic agents.
The team then tested these devices in cell cultures to see if they could inhibit growth of bacteria and cancer cells.
When testing antibiotic-containing catheters that could slowly release the drug, D’Agostino’s team found that the devices inhibited bacterial growth.
Researchers also saw that filaments carrying chemotherapeutic agents were able to inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
“We treat a wide variety of patients and, with some patients, the current one-size-fits-all devices are not an option,” added D’Agostino.
“3-D printing gives us the ability to craft devices that are better suited for certain patient populations that are traditionally tough to treat, such as children and the obese, who have different anatomy. There’s limitless potential to be explored with this technology,” he said.