System would use microbes for manufacturing small amounts of vaccines and other therapies.
For medics on the battlefield and doctors in remote or developing parts of the world, getting rapid access to the drugs needed to treat patients can be challenging.
Biopharmaceutical drugs, which are used in a wide range of therapies including vaccines and treatments for diabetes and cancer, are typically produced in large, centralized fermentation plants. This means they must be transported to the treatment site, which can be expensive, time-consuming, and challenging to execute in areas with poor supply chains.
Now a portable production system, designed to manufacture a range of biopharmaceuticals on demand, has been developed by researchers at MIT, with funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
In a paper published today in the journal Nature Communications, the researchers demonstrate that the system can be used to produce a single dose of treatment from a compact device containing a small droplet of cells in a liquid.