3D printed oesophageal stents to revolutionize cancer treatment

Researchers from the University of South Australia have developed 3D printed oesophageal stents that could revolutionize the delivery of chemotherapy drugs to provide more accurate, effective and personalized treatment for patients with oesophageal cancer.

Photo
3D printing processes that combine medicines and medical devices are on the precipice of changing the way we deliver medicines.
Source: UniSA

Fabricated from polyurethane filament and incorporating the chemotherapy drug 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), the new oesophageal stents are the first to contain active pharmaceutical ingredients within their matrix. Their unique composition allows them to deliver up to 110 days of a sustained anti-cancer medication directly to the cancer site, restricting further tumor growth. 

Importantly, the capabilities of 3D printing enabling rapid creation of individually tailored stents with patient-specific geometries and drug dosages.

Ph.D. scholar, UniSA's Paris Fouladian, says the new oesophageal stents could be a gamechanger for treating oesophageal cancer. "Oesophageal cancer is often challenging to treat, with early diagnosis critical for positive outcomes," Fouladian says.

"The most prominent symptom is dysphagia (difficulty swallowing food or drink) which is due to malignant cancer cells blocking the esophagus. Blockages are commonly eased by an oesophageal stent - a small tube that is placed in the food pipe to keep it open - but these too can become obstructed by invading cancer cells. Our new drug-loaded oesophageal stents can help prevent further blockages by administering anti-cancer drugs directly to the tumor, limiting further growth while relieving the pressure of dysphagia."

The new drug-loaded 3D printed oesophageal stents are stable to both UV and gamma sterilization processes. Oesophageal cancer is the seventh most common cancer in the world, and the sixth highest cause of cancer deaths worldwide.

Unless diagnosed early, prognosis remains poor with a five-year survival rate of around 20 per cent. Senior researcher and Director of UniSA's Pharmaceutical Innovation and Development Group, Professor Sanjay Garg, says the new technology is a significant breakthrough in modern drug delivery. "3D printing processes that combine medicines and medical devices are on the precipice of changing the way we deliver medicines," Prof Garg says.

"We're now exploring the potential of 3D printing to design precise and individualized drug delivery systems. "While more research is needed to further test the new drug-loaded 3D printed stents, we're hopeful that this new technology will deliver positive outcomes for people with oesophageal cancer."

Subscribe to our newsletter

Related articles

3D-printed bioresorbable airway stent

3D-printed bioresorbable airway stent

Researchers are using 3D printing to produce a new type of bioresorbable airway stent. This could greatly simplify the future treatment of upper airway obstruction.

3D printed stents treat inflammation

3D printed stents treat inflammation

Researchers have produced biodegradable stents with esophageal-derived bioink to directly treat radiation esophagitis.

3D printed hydrogels to be used in cancer immunotherapy

3D printed hydrogels to be used in cancer immunotherapy

The new 3D hydrogels provide high rates of cell proliferation, as they mimic lymph nodes, where T-cells reproduce in vivo.

3D printed implant promotes nerve cell growth

3D printed implant promotes nerve cell growth

Spinal cord injury: In rat models, the novel scaffolding mimicked natural anatomy and boosted stem cell-based treatment; the approach is scalable to humans.

3D printing resins in dental devices may be toxic

3D printing resins in dental devices may be toxic

Two commercially available 3D-printable resins, which are marketed as being biocompatible for use in dental applications, readily leach compounds into their surroundings.

A new combined process for 3D printing

A new combined process for 3D printing

Scientists have developed a way to integrate liquids directly into materials during the 3D printing process.

Understanding the utility of plasmas

Understanding the utility of plasmas

Researchers aim to better explain the way plasmas interact with biological materials to help pave the way for plasma use in wound healing and cancer therapy.

3D printing strong and tough hydrogels

3D printing strong and tough hydrogels

Skin and cartilage are both strong and flexible – properties that are hard to replicate in artificial materials. But a new fabrication process brings lifelike synthetic polymers a step closer.

3D printing biomedical parts with supersonic speed

3D printing biomedical parts with supersonic speed

Researchers have developed a 3D printing technique that creates cellular metallic materials by smashing together powder particles at supersonic speed.

Popular articles

Photo

3D printed ultra-low-cost hearing aid

Using a device that could be built with a dollar's worth of open-source parts and a 3D-printed case, researchers want to help the hundreds of millions of older people worldwide who can't afford existing hearing aids to address their age-related hearing loss.