Personalized drugs could one day be made based on individual patient needs, with researchers at the University of East Anglia (UEA) investigating technology to 3D print pills.
The team, comprising Dr Andy Gleadall and Professor Richard Bibb of Loughborough University, identified a new additive manufacturing method to enable 3D printing of drugs in highly porous structures, which can be used to regulate the rate of drug release from the drug to the body. when taken orally.
Dr Sheng Qi, pharmacy reader at the UEA School of Pharmacy, led the research. The results of the project, “ Effects of Porosity on Drug Release Kinetics of Swellable and Erodible Porous Solid Dosage Forms Manufactured by 3D Printing by Hot Melt Droplet Deposition, ” are published today in the International Journal of Pharmacy.
Dr Qi said, “Right now our medicines are made in a unique way.
“Personalized medicine uses new manufacturing technology to produce pills that have the precise dose and drug combinations tailored to individual patients. This would allow patients to obtain maximum drug benefit with minimal side effects.
“Such treatment approaches can particularly benefit elderly patients who often have to take many different types of medication per day, and patients with complex illnesses such as cancer, mental illness and inflammatory bowel disease.”
The team’s job, Dr Qi said, is to lay the foundation for the technology needed in the future to produce personalized medicine at the point of care. She said 3D printing has the unique ability to produce porous pharmaceutical solid dosage forms on demand.
Pharmaceutical 3D printing research is a new area of research that has grown rapidly over the past five years. The most commonly used 3D printing methods require the drug to be made into spaghetti-like filaments before 3D printing.
The team investigated a new method of 3D printing that can quickly produce porous pharmaceutical tablets without the use of filaments. The results revealed that by changing the size of the pores, the speed of a drug escaping from the tablet into the body can be regulated.
Further research will be needed in order to use the porosity to tailor the dose and frequency of administration (i.e. once a day or twice a day) of the drug to the needs of each patient, and to use this principle to integrate multiple drugs into a single daily poly-pill for patients. who are part of a complex medicine regiment.
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