University College London uses 3D printers to create personalized prescriptions, what does this mean for clinical laboratories and precision medicine?

University College London uses 3D printers to create personalized prescriptions, what does this mean for clinical laboratories and precision medicine?

As 3D printing technology gains increased acceptance by pharmaceutical companies, clinical labs may see increased demand for pharmacogenomic testing

Will doctors ever “print” prescription drugs for patients in the office? It sounds like science fiction, but research from University College London (UCL) indicates that the ability may be closer than we think and could lead to a new kind of collaboration between clinical laboratories, prescribing physicians and pharmacies.

UCL’s new 3D technique, which it calls “volumetric 3D printing”, is intended to enable the pharmaceutical industry to tailor the dosage, shape/size and release of drugs to the needs and preferences of consumers. a patient. A key element of precision medicine.

According to GlobalData Healthcare, 3D printing can also “significantly reduce cost, waste, and economic burden because printers deposit only the exact amount of raw materials needed.”

The researchers published their findings in the journal Additive manufacturingtitled “Volumetric 3D printing for rapid drug production”.

Fred Parietti, PhD

3D printing could allow pharmaceutical companies to address gender and racial disparities in prescription drug manufacturing with a developing technology that could have implications for clinical laboratory testing. Fred Parietti, PhD (above), co-founder and CEO of Multiply the laboratoriesa technology company that develops robotics for precision medicine pharmaceuticals, said 3D natives“Currently, drugs are developed specifically for white adult males, which means that all women and children are over-prescribed for their bodies. This fact highlights the importance of the advent of personalized medicines, as well as highlighting the individuality of each patient, since the error in the dosage of certain active ingredients can even lead to the malfunction of certain treatments (Copyright photo: Multiply Labs).


Increased demand for pharmacogenomic testing

Although 3D printing of prescription drugs is not directly in the clinical/pathology lab space, it is remarkable as it demonstrates how advances in technology are advancing that are updating the ability to deliver precision medicine care to patients. individual.

In turn, this could increase physician/patient demand for pharmacogenomic testing performed by clinical laboratories. The test results would be used by referring physicians to determine appropriate dosages for their individual patients before ordering 3D-printed drugs.

Being able to deliver drugs tailored to specific patient needs could lead to a revolution in pharmaceutical manufacturing. If 3D-printed prescription drugs become mainstream, the demands could also affect the clinical laboratory and pathology industries.

How far are we from the mass production of 3D printed drugs?

The first and only 3D-printed pharmaceutical drug on the US market is Spritam (levetiracetam), an antiepileptic drug developed by Aprecia Pharmaceuticals, according to Medical Device Network. It received FDA clearance as Keppra in 1999.

Based in Blue Ash, Ohio, Aprecia’s patented ZipDose manufacturing process allows 3D-printed pills to hold a larger dose and dissolve quickly. They currently have the only FDA cleared 3D printing platform for commercial scale drug production. They are leading the way in this new 3D technology and others are following suit.

FabRx, a 3D printing start-up developed by university researchers in 2014 at University College London, has launched its first pharmaceutical 3D printer for personalized medicine called M3DIMAKER according to The system is “controlled by specialized software, allowing selection of the dose required by the pharmacist based on the prescription given by the clinician,” notes the company’s website.

The technology also allows for further personalization of pills, including the application of Braille for visually impaired patients and the printing of Polypills, which combine more than one drug into a single pill.

Other companies are developing 3D printing of pharmaceuticals, according to LabioTech.euto understand:

  • German Merck: currently in clinical trials of 3D printed drugs with the aim of reaching large-scale production.
  • The Chinese Triastek: which holds “41 patents which represent more than 20% of the world’s pharmaceutical 3D printing applications”.
  • GlaxoSmithKline from the UK: which has partnered with the University of Nottingham to study 3D printing technology.

We’re still a long way from large-scale drug production using 3D printing, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be on the radar of clinical lab managers.

The rise of 3D printing technology for precision medicine could lead to big changes in the pharmaceutical world and change the way patients, providers and clinical laboratories interact. It could also increase the demand for pharmacogenomic testing to determine the best dosage for each patient. This breakthrough shows how a line of research and technological development can, as it goes into clinical use, engage clinical laboratories.

Related information:

3D-printed tablets offer a taste of personalized medicine in seven seconds

Volumetric 3D printing for rapid drug production

3D printing of drugs can revolutionize personalized medicine and improve sustainability

Are 3D printed drugs the future of personalized medicine?

See drugs in 3D

Five companies are customizing treatments with 3D-printed drugs

The advent of a new era in digital health: a role for 3D printing technologies in the manufacture of drugs?

FDA: A Basic Guide to Process Validation in the Pharmaceutical Industry

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