Scientific Sessions 2015 - 3D printerPersonalized medications, based on a person’s medical and biological profiles, can be produced with high precision through 3D printing, according to a study presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2015.

Traditional pre-formulated medicines don’t allow for customization that accounts for a patient’s weight, race, kidney and liver functions – which can increase effectiveness and reduce side effects.

A research team from Wake Forest University, Columbia University and University of North Carolina developed a prototype computer algorithm, including software for 3D printing with dosage-adjustment information. After inputting patients’ individual medical and biological characteristics, the software calculates personalized doses and automatically generates 3D printing data. Researchers tested the accuracy and variability of five different doses of 80 total 3D-printed “pills” in the testing material.

All tested pills, ranging in dose from 124 milligrams to 373 mg, were successfully printed using a 3D-printer. There was high reproducibility and little variability.

This study shows the concept of 3D printing to produce personalized pills is possible and potentially provides a new method to formulate medicines based on a patient’s clinical characteristics. More research is needed to develop a standard adjustment formula for individual drugs, as well as cost-effective 3D drug printing techniques, researchers said.