The pharmaceutical industry has been in the business of saving lives for generations. The history of medical discovery and innovation spans back centuries and most of us are happy to consider it an ancient and mysterious art. While it’s true that venerated techniques like HPLC are still used today, the new discoveries are nothing to be scoffed at. Even just over the last decade, there have been many exciting advancements in the pharmaceutical industry that are worth getting excited about.
We’ve heard quite a bit about 3D printing over the years since its initial spike in popularity. One really amazing way it’s being used is to print drugs themselves. In ages past, a pharmacist weighed and measured powders before handing them to customers as-is or in a sugar capsule form. Now we know that dosage has to be much more consistent, and 3D printing is an ideal way to do just that. Pills are literally printed with their dosage coded right into their construction. It doesn’t get any more safely controlled than that!
Possibly one advance with quite a few far-reaching possibilities are simulation chips. These are data chips that interact with input information in the same way biologic responses normally would, rather than store information. For instance, synthetic organ chips are being developed to enable doctors to test treatments without needing live specimens or organs. This will not only make testing drugs significantly more humane, but also safer and consistent, as well as significantly reduce production costs.
While nanotechnology itself is nothing new, it is a field of science that is in constant motion. More recently, nanotechnology has contributed a few important advancements in the pharmaceutical industry. Nanoparticles introduced into a bloodstream allows for extremely measured and targeted distribution of medicines, for instance. In addition, once introduced to a patient’s body, nanotechnology can create a highly detailed analysis of conditions it encounters. Lastly, medical equipment can be misted with nanotechnology in order to introduce medical benefits, such as the delivery of a secondary drug, creating a powerful and subtle new way to introduce medicine into a patient’s body.