University of Graz uses 3D printed steel reactor to convert greenhouse gas into sleeping sickness drug

3ders.org | 12/29/2017 | Staff
adele2234 (Posted by) Level 3
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Researchers from the University of Graz in Austria are using a 3D printed reactor system to transform fluoroform, a harmful greenhouse gas, into eflornithine, a drug used to treat African trypanosomiasis (better known as sleeping sickness).

Last month, we wrote about how researchers from Graz’s CC FLOW consortium had developed a novel 3D printed steel reactor which was capable of turning fluoroform—a greenhouse gas produced through the manufacturing of fluoropolymers like Teflon—into a synthetic building block using flow chemistry.

Reactor - System - Researchers - Ability - Teflon

Now, using the same 3D printed reactor system, the researchers have demonstrated the ability to transform the Teflon waste product into a critical medicine.

Sleeping sickness is an infectious and potentially fatal disease that is transmitted to humans via insects (usually the tsetse fly). If untreated, the disease can trigger early symptoms such as fevers, headaches, and joint paints. Down the line, it can cause problems in the central nervous system manifesting as bad coordination, numbness, and disrupted sleep.

Disease - Parts - Sub-Saharan - Africa - People

The disease, which is most common in certain parts of rural sub-Saharan Africa, is believed to currently be effecting over 11,000 people in the region and caused the deaths of about 3,500 people in 2015.

Fortunately, there is a treatment for the disease, eflornithine, which can now be produced through the synthesis of a harmful waste product.

Flow - Process - Partner - Fluoroform - Use

"In the flow process developed together with an industrial partner, we have succeeded in applying fluoroform to meaningful use,” commented Dr. C. Oliver Kappe, a professor at the University of Graz. “We use it to make eflornithine, a major sleeping sickness drug, which has been added to the Essential Medicines list by the World Health Organization (WHO).”

Typically, the method for...
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