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3D printing: potential clinical applications for personalised solid dose medications

Liam Krueger, Jared A Miles, Kathryn J Steadman, Tushar Kumeria, Christopher R Freeman and Amirali Popat
Med J Aust 2022; 216 (2): . || doi: 10.5694/mja2.51381
Published online: 7 February 2022

Three‐dimensional printing or additive manufacturing has the potential to transform personalised medicine

Personalised medicine aims to move gold‐standard care away from empiric prescribing for a typical patient towards tailored treatment for the patient as an individual.1 It is well known that the effect of a medicine on an individual can vary based on factors including sex, genetics and even hormones. Currently, the personalisation of medicines to adjust for factors such as these is limited by the doses and combinations that are commercially available. This inflexibility makes it difficult for clinicians to tailor the medication for individual needs. One technology that could revolutionise personalised medicine is a process called additive manufacturing. In this process, a three‐dimensional (3D) object is produced by fusing thin layers of materials on top of each other until the complete object is formed. This 3D printing method could be applied to medicines to include several drugs in a single tablet at entirely customisable doses set by the clinician, such as the proof of concept five‐in‐one polypill developed in 2015.2

  • Liam Krueger1
  • Jared A Miles1
  • Kathryn J Steadman1
  • Tushar Kumeria2
  • Christopher R Freeman1,3
  • Amirali Popat1

  • 1 University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD
  • 2 Australian Centre for Nanomedicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW
  • 3 Metro North Hospital and Health Service, Brisbane, QLD


Correspondence: a.popat@uq.edu.au

Acknowledgements: 

Amirali Popat is the recipient of a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Career Development Fellowship (GNT1146627) and receives funding from the School of Pharmacy, University of Queensland. Tushar Kumeria pays respect to the Bedegal people who are the traditional owners of the land on which the University of New South Wales Kensington campus is situated. Tushar Kumeria also acknowledges the support from the NHMRC Early Career Fellowship (GNT1143296) and the University of New South Wales for support and Scientia Grant.

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.

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