Molecular-Level 3D Printer Based on Plants Could Speed Up Drug Development

March 13, 2015 11:27 AM

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Chemists at the University of Illinois, under the supervision of chemistry professor and medical doctor Martin D. Burke, built a molecule-making machine, which functions on the principles of a 3D-printer, but uses knowledge we gained from plants. The aim of their research was to speed up the process of generating molecules, in order to make it available to non-specialists. To achieve this, Professor Burke said, a complicated process like chemical synthesis had to be made simple, so that it could be automatized.

Most drugs available today for various medical conditions are based on small molecules – a category of complex but compact chemical structures, which are also used in solar cells and LEDs and which play an essential role in the functioning of living cells. Because these molecules are difficult to sy...

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