A Refined Hot Melt Printing Technique with Real-Time CT Imaging Capability
Personalised drug delivery systems with the ability to offer real-time imaging and control release are an advancement in diagnostic and therapeutic applications. This allows for a tailored drug dosage specific to the patient with a release profile that offers the optimum therapeutic effect. Coupling this application with medical imaging capabilities, real-time contrast can be viewed to display the interaction with the host. Current approaches towards such novelty produce a drug burst release profile and contrasting agents associated with side effects as a result of poor encapsulation of these components. In this study, a 3D-printed drug delivery matrix with real-time imaging is engineered. Polycaprolactone (PCL) forms the bulk structure and encapsulates tetracycline hydrochloride (TH), an antibiotic drug and Iron Oxide Nanoparticles (IONP, Fe3O4), a superparamagnetic contrasting agent. Hot melt extrusion (HME) coupled with fused deposition modelling (FDM) is utilised to promote the encapsulation of TH and IONP. The effect of additives on the formation of micropores (10–20 µm) on the 3D-printed surface was investigated. The high-resolution process demonstrated successful encapsulation of both bioactive and nano components to present promising applications in drug delivery systems, medical imaging and targeted therapy.