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Witten by Bonnie (Xiaoyan) Xu.

Intravesical instillation therapy is an alternative approach to oral medications for the treatment of bladder diseases such as interstitial cystitis and bladder pain syndrome. Favourably, it offers high drug concentrations at the site of action while minimising systemic exposure. However, therapeutic efficacy is often limited because of the short residence time of the drug in the bladder and the need for repeated instillations. Over the past few years, 3D printing is emerging as a disruptive technology to manufacture personalised pharmaceutical products and medical devices, allowing the fabrication of unconventional shapes with customised designs, tailored dosages, and drug release characteristics that are challenging to make with traditional production methods. 

 In this study, we developed a novel indwelling bladder device with stereolithography (SLA) 3D printing for intravesical drug delivery, providing local bladder treatment with prolonged drug exposure. The device was designed to be elongated in a straight and rigid conformation to facilitate insertion and removal from the bladder via a urethral catheter, which would then undergo a shape change in situ to ensure retention in the bladder. Two types of devices (hollow and solid) were successfully prepared using elastic polymers with different lidocaine concentrations. In vitro drug release studies showed that the hollow devices enabled a complete release of lidocaine within 4 days, compared with up to 2 weeks for the solid devices. 

 This study presents a new opportunity for SLA 3D printing in the manufacture of implantable bladder drug delivery systems. Potentially, these devices can be easily adapted for the treatment of other bladder disorders, revolutionising intravesical treatment outcomes for patients. 

 Read our full-length article here: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.msec.2020.111773