Imagine being able to prescribe your own medicine at home in the future. This is something that a research group at the Biomedical Center in Uppsala is trying to solve with the help of a 3D printer. Everything happens in a collaboration between the Academic Hospital and Uppsala University.
In this particular project, the focus is on being able to manufacture medicine for seriously ill children.Individual dosage
Today, the majority of all medicine is produced from a larger target group with a dosage size that most often suits an adult, which can cause problems when giving younger children medicine.
- Dosing a medication is interesting from a child's perspective, since children need drugs at a lower dose than we adults, says Christel Bergström, associate professor of Galenic Pharmacy at the Department of Pharmacy at Uppsala University.
The 3D printer should simplify and ensure that a person gets the right dose of a specific medicine without first having to divide or crush it.
- Using the 3D printer, you can instead print tablets that have exactly the dose the child needs regardless of age.Should be able to print medicine at home
The hopes for the project, which is also one of the challenges, are to allow hospitals, pharmacies and private individuals to have access to their own 3D printers in the future.
- There is always a technology transfer problem in this, something we work with a lot: how do we do it safely when we launch the printer to clinics? But how do we also make sure it is safe when we move the printer to the custodians of the sick children?
So there is a possibility in the future to be able to prescribe their own medicine at home?
- We see it as well as having a coffee machine where you can make 5-6 different types of coffee in your home. So you can have a machine that is about the same size as that machine, but which instead makes your drug.
- Once in the home, the 3D printer must be properly programmed, it's not something you should do yourself. Before every time you are going to manufacture medicines in your home, you can think of using the technology that is similar to a bank dose and an ID that doubles the link so that it becomes a safe printout of the drug, says Christel Bergström.Shall make everyday life easier for sick children
The goal is for all patients to receive simpler, safer and more effective drug treatment.
- We see that it is a great pity if the sick children do not receive optimal therapy. But it is also true that sick children have custodians and maybe siblings who are also affected because they may be hospitalized to get their medicines because the drug treatment itself is difficult to do at home.Can be launched in five years
At present, we hope to be able to make the first launch of the 3D printer to the university hospitals in about five years.
- Moving the technology to the rural hospitals and to the homes can then take up to ten years, says Christel Bergström.