If there is one technology with the potential to make radical changes to our society it would have to be 3D printing, and nowhere will we see a more apparent effect of this change than in the drug manufacturing business.
As someone who has followed technology for a very long time and having seen many changes and shifts, I can honestly say that we are facing one of the biggest shifts in our society and technology with the rise of 3D printing technology. Even the average consumer will soon be able to afford one.
Now as cute as it might be to be able to print out things like 3D avatars of ourselves, the real change comes when you can print out things like parts for machinery or even more radically – print out drugs that we can take.
This might seem fanciful and too futuristic for some but the fact is that there are companies out there that are trying to do just this. Two of those companies: Parabon NanoLabs and Janssen Research & Development recently got a grant from the National Science Foundation, which they used to move just beyond the theory and actually create cancer drugs that are now in testing.
The technology is called Parabon Essemblix Drug Development Platform and the companies involved believe that this technology could bring about rapid prototyping of drug creation and thereby drastically reduce the time it takes to bring these new drugs to market. Co-developer of the technology, Steven Armentrout, commented on the news by saying that the company can now "print" the exact compound that they want—molecule by molecule—but what differentiate their technology from other companies is that they are able to specify the exact placement of every atom in any compound they design.
Right now the team at Parabon is working on creating a new prostate cancer drug that, in its current form, “combines a toxin with a chemical that makes cancer cells susceptible to that toxin.” Researchers can also track the drug as it moves to tumors to prevent healthy tissues from being targeted by the drug. All this can be done in a matter of a few weeks.