3D Printing Using DNA Could Make Drugs

Credit: widdowquinn/Flickr)

Credit: widdowquinn/Flickr)

New technology that combines the computer-aided design software inSequio with nanoscale fabrication technology could allow for the 3D printing of drugs using DNA.

The Parabon Essemblix Drug Development Platform allows for the rapid, and precise, specific placement of every atom in a compound it designs. The scientists used the inSequio software to design molecular pieces with specific, functional components. The designs were then optimized using a cloud supercomputing platform called the Parabon Computation Grid, which searches for sets of DNA sequences that can self-assemble new components.

In order to design the components, the researchers used knowledge about the cell receptors they were targeting or the biological pathways they were trying to affect. The process was very deliberate and methodical, which the scientists say is unique in the drug development industry.

To speed up the production process, the researchers took the new sequences and chemically synthesized trillions of identical copies, allowing them to produce drugs in a matter of weeks, sometimes even days. This technique is a lot faster than traditional drug discovery techniques that use a trial-and-error screening.

Parabon hopes to develop synthetic vaccines for biodefense as well as gene therapies that could target specific diseases.

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