BBC reports that scientists from the University of Glasgow are pioneering a £1,250 research that will use 3D printing to create drugs and chemicals, some of which can be used to create treatments for cancer. If successful, the process can be used to create customized drugs and be made available to pharmaceutical companies in 5 years and the public in 20 years.
The process will make use of syringes that are controlled by robots to create objects from gel-based ink where the chemicals and catalysts are mixed. Prof. Lee Cronin said that they are “mixing the concept of the glassware and the chemicals together in the 3D printer to create what we call 'reactionware’ … you print the last reactionary agent first and then build other chemical layers above, finally adding a liquid at the top. The liquid goes to layer one making a new molecule which goes to the next layer creating another and so on until at the bottom you get your prescription drug out."
Researchers have used bathroom sealant for their reactor, but until now the substances they have created are not yet suitable for human consumption. They also intend to replicate the drugs already available in the market so pre-set recipes will be available for download to doctors and individuals.