Carbon’s CLIP technique is used to create 3D printed contraception for HIV patients.

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A groundbreaking collaborative effort between researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the University of North Carolina (UNC) Eshelman School of Pharmacy has resulted in the development of an innovative 3D-printed contraception device. This device, a 3D-printed intravaginal ring, has been specifically designed for women with HIV who often have limited options for contraception. By integrating three key drugs – Etonogestrel (ENG), ethinyl estradiol (EE), and islatravir (ISL) – into a silicone poly(urethane) IVR using 3D printing technology, the researchers have created a solution that combines HIV prevention and contraception in one easy-to-use ring.

With an emphasis on empowering women to take control of their contraception, the researchers recognized the potential benefits of 3D printing technology. Compared to traditional production methods that use heat and pressure, which can interfere with the effectiveness of drugs in the ring, 3D printing offered the possibility of better release kinetics, thus improving the overall efficacy of the device. The team specifically chose Carbon’s vat photopolymerization technology over material extrusion to avoid heat, allowing them to utilize Carbon’s SIL30 material to create a soft implant that is comfortable for use within the body.

This innovative approach not only represents a significant advancement in medical technology, but also demonstrates a sincere commitment to promoting safer outcomes in HIV prevention and women’s health. I applaud the researchers for their ingenuity in developing 3D-printed drug loading devices, and I am excited to see more inventions that can be worn in and around the body. This path signifies a promising future for medical technology.

However, I must express some serious concerns regarding the long-term use of vat polymerization materials within the body. While SIL30 has approval for skin contact, its approval for prolonged internal use, such as spending several months inside the body, is not established. There have been reports of leaching of substances from vat polymerization implants into the body, including photoinitiators. Moreover, SIL30 contains compounds linked to reproductive issues and potential harm to unborn children, such as 2,2′,2″-nitrilotriethanol. Additionally, SIL30 can cause skin allergies and contains Diethylene Glycol Monomethyl Ether Methacrylate, a substance that can be acutely toxic and irritate the skin. While proper curing should eliminate toxicity and related issues, it is crucial to exercise extreme caution when using these materials, especially in cases of long-term exposure.

As we delve into this new frontier of medical technology, it is paramount that we prioritize the safety of patients over anything else. We should explore alternative materials suitable for internal use within the body, such as low-temperature material extrusion of polycaprolactone, or we can await the development of a new generation of resins. It is important to remember that just because a material is labeled as biocompatible or safe for skin contact, it does not automatically make it suitable for all uses and at all times. We must keep this in mind both in experimental settings and in our plans to bring these materials to market. The procedures to achieve fully cured parts are equally crucial in ensuring the safety of these devices in the long run.

While I do not wish to single out any individual or organization, I must express my skepticism towards the long-term use of any vat polymerization parts within the body. The prosperity of our industry depends on ensuring the long-term safety of our products, and this principle should guide us as we continue to innovate and grow. It is important to stay updated on the latest news and developments in the 3D printing industry, and to carefully consider information and offers from third-party vendors.

In conclusion, the collaborative effort between the CDC and UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy in creating a 3D-printed contraception device for women with HIV is truly remarkable. However, we should exercise caution and prioritize the long-term safety of these devices, especially when utilizing materials that are not explicitly approved for extended internal use. With continued diligence and focus on patient safety, we can harness the potential of 3D printing technology to improve healthcare outcomes and create a better future for medical technology.

To stay informed about the latest news and advancements in the 3D printing industry, and to receive information and offers from third-party vendors, be sure to stay connected and up-to-date.

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