Medical industry advances towards more efficient, customized 3D printed vaccinations

Dec 25, 2017 | By Tess

At a recent health conference in Bilbao, Spain about advancements in vaccinations, a number of professionals cited the potentials of 3D printing for advancing the efficiency of administering as well as customizing vaccines.

The conference, called “Advances in vaccines,” was hosted by the Association of Microbiology and Health (AMYS), as well as the Department of Pediatrics and the Department of Immunology, Microbiology, and Parasitology from the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU).

The event brought together experts from the field of vaccinations to speak about the current state of the sector and directions vaccination-related research is headed in the future. 3D printing, unsurprisingly, was a key topic of discussion.

One speaker, Pedro Alsina, from the Institutional Relations of Sanofi, spoke about how 3D printing will enable the production of customized vaccines, which can be tailored to the recipient’s genetic makeup.

Additionally, he said that it will soon be possible to 3D print vaccines inside structures that can either be administered externally (say, a patch stuck to the skin), or orally (as tablets or even inside fruits and vegetables, for instance). Having alternative methods for vaccinations other than needles could make it easier to deploy them to regions where medical staff are in short supply.

Research groups from around the globe are currently working on various methods for 3D printing vaccinations. At the University of California, Berkeley, for example, a team is developing a 3D printed device called MucoJet, which could allow people to administer their own vaccinations by using a pressurized system to shoot a stream of the vaccine into their inner cheek tissue.

In MIT’s laboratories, engineers are developing an alternative method which would use micro-scale 3D printing to make small “SEAL” holders for vaccinations which could be implanted with a single injection and release drug or vaccines doses over a defined period of time.

3D printed MucoJet device

These projects, and many more like them, suggest a promising future for vaccinations. Still, the medical system will need to adapt to handling faster developments in the field, said one expert at the conference.

“At present, the manufacturing of vaccines is a long and complex process due to the nature of the raw materials (microorganisms) and the quality control processes that occupy 70% of the total manufacturing time,” said Alsina, who suggests that vaccination regulations should be simplified and “harmonized” across all countries in order to increase innovation in the field.

Another key goal addressed at the conference was the development of more efficient vaccines, especially for such sicknesses as the flu. “We must work to achieve a more immunogenic injection in the most vulnerable people and for the universal flu vaccine so that it is not necessary to go through the process once a year,” said Dr. Ramón Cisterna, a professor of microbiology and the president of AMYS.

He also stated that the medical community advancing towards the development of vaccinations not only for infections, but also for tumor-based or metabolic diseases.

Posted in 3D Printing Application

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In the past, insoles for patients with diabetes were hand-made by orthopedic shoemakers. In the future, these specialist shoemakers will be able to produce insoles more cost-effectively thanks to new software and the use of 3D printers. This approach means the mechanical properties of each insole can be assessed scientifically and more effectively.

Is your shoe too tight? Normally you would just shift your weight to take the pressure off the area that is sore. In people with diabetes, however, the nerve endings in the foot often become atrophied, and those affected cannot feel the soreness. This can give rise to pressure points and eventually wounds that heal badly. A remedy, or at least some relief, is promised by insoles that are very soft in the area of the injury, and that are custom-made by orthopedic shoemakers in a variety of materials. Up until now, however, it has not really been possible to assess the success of insoles scientifically – each insole is a one-off item, after all. So it is in the interests of health insurances companies to have the process surrounding insoles digitalized to allow the collection of scientific data on them.

Digitalizing the manufacture of insoles

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Covestro and Lehmann&Voss&Co laid the foundations for the 3D printing of insoles some years ago. These industry partners were the first to develop a soft material for 3D printing in the form of thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU). Working together with UMSICHT experts, they are now developing other types of TPU that are expected to be even more suitable for use in orthopedic insoles.

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IWM scientists have meanwhile been optimizing the three-dimensional structures that are required of TPU when it is used for insoles. How soft or rigid insoles are depends not just on the material itself, but also on how it is shaped. “First we think about structures – straight rods, crooked arms, or triangles, for instance – then we produce a computer model of them, key in the data for a particular material, and simulate how rigid the result is under pressure,” Ziegler explains. “Where does an insole need to be soft, or more rigid? By altering the structure type, we can precisely determine the rigidity of the insole.” The IWM team uses application-oriented load simulations to resolve which structures are needed where to achieve the desired properties. They test the material’s load-bearing strength and its expected lifespan. “We simulate the entire production process, too, in order to identify where there is potential for optimization,” Ziegler explains. He also uses this approach in relation to other materials and structures for 3D printing.


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Source and top image: Fraunhofer

Learn more at the next leading event on the topic: 3D Printing USA 2016 External Link on 16 – 17 Nov 2016 in Santa Clara, CA, USA hosted by IDTechEx.

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About XYZprinting 
XYZprinting, a New Kinpo Group company, is dedicated to bringing cost-effective 3D printing to educators and classrooms, consumers and artists, small-to-midsized businesses, and households around the world. With proven industry expertise, XYZprinting has broken down the barriers of 3D printer ownership by providing an easy-to-use device that delivers an outstanding user experience, connected to a computer or via mobile. Its printers have won numerous other accolades within the 3D printing industry, at major industry events and with top publications. XYZprinting currently has offices in China, Japan, Korea, Thailand, the United States and Europe. To learn more, please visit

About New Kinpo Group (NKG) 
New Kinpo Group, a corporation of several subsidiaries including Cal-Comp, XYZprinting, Kinpo Electronics and AcBel, is a global electronic manufacturing services (EMS) and original design manufacturing (ODM) company that offers its customers lower costs, faster delivery times and world-class product quality. The company’s EMS business spans multiple product lines, including storage, printers, network-attached storage (NAS), wireless and broadband, digital home, consumer electronics, wearables, 3D printing, robotics, power management and smart grid, industrial, automotive, security, medical/healthcare and emerging technologies. New Kinpo Group’s network of strategically located manufacturing sites have the added benefit of allowing customers to manufacture products closer to their end customers, resulting in dramatically reduced shipping costs, lower tariffs and more cost-effective inventory management. For more information, visit

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