NUS Engineering researchers, from the Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, have found a way to use 3D printers to produce low-cost tablets that can be customised to a patient’s needs. Developed by Assistant Professor Soh Siow Long and Ph.D. student Ms Sun Yajuan, this new method of tablet fabrication can make 3Dprinted pills that control the dosage and release rate of the drug according to the patient’s treatments. In addition, this can be done without any complex computations, and the tablets can be produced immediately.
“For a long time, personalised tablets have been a mere concept as they were far too complex or expensive to be realised. This table fabrication method is a game changer – it is technically simple, relatively inexpensive and versatile. It can be applied at individualised settings where physicians could produce customised pulls on the spot for patients, or in mass production settings by pharmaceutical companies,” said Assistant Professor Soh.
Instead of manufacturing the tablet by printing layer by layer, the new customised pill consists of three distinct components, including a polymer containing the drug in a specifically designed shape that will determine the rate of release of the drug. For instance, a 5-prong shape will allow the drug to be released in five pulses over time. By adjusting the shape of the drug-containing polymer, it is now possible to release drugs at any desired rate.