Medications that are tailored more closely to our individual needs are on the way, says fourth-year College of Pharmacy student Larissa Melnyk. In an article titled “Integration of 3D Printing Technology in Pharmaceutical Compounding” (coauthored with Moses Oyewumi, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of pharmaceutical sciences) published in the December 2021 issue of Annals of 3D Printed Medicine, Melnyk (the first and lead author) and Dr. Oyewumi discuss how the industry of compounding is evolving toward more patient-specific care.
A 3D printing technology has been employed in production of FDA-approved medications since 2015, says Melnyk. She explains, “3D printing of medications allows achievement of highly controllable and more extended-release profiles, custom dosage forms with multiple medications of independent release, more effective and diverse flavor masking, and new options to enhance patient safety and education.”
So, what’s different now?
“The compounding advantage is the ability to produce medications that are more personalized and precisely tailored to the patient’s needs than what industry currently provides. 3D printing of medications is poised to become the next level of compounding and is necessary to maintain techniques capable of matching 3D-printed innovations from the pharmaceutical industry,” says Melnyk.
To stay on top of the innovation, she adds, “pharmacists need to learn about 3D printers that have demonstrated the ability to print medications and maintain awareness of the technology’s status for implementation into practice for the benefit of patients.”
The authors note that the article in Annals of 3D Medicine is “an assessment of what it will take to fully integrate 3D printing technology into pharmacy practice settings while highlighting opportunities and challenges of adopting 3D printing as a compounding method in pharmacies.”
Taking opportunities to become a transformational leader
Melnyk has immersed herself in the entrepreneurial opportunities available through NEOMED and its community partnerships, such as the Burton D. Morgan Future MedTech Entrepreneur Internship program offered in 2020 through NEOMED’s REDIzone business incubator. At the August 2020 pitch day for that program, Melnyk was part of a team with a medicine student at NEOMED and a law student at Cleveland State University. The trio discussed the case study of a man with diabetes as an example of the potential for a new diagnostic biomarker being developed by NEOMED faculty and researcher Takhar Kasumov, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences.
Read “Integration of 3D printing technology in pharmaceutical compounding: Progress, prospects, and challenges” in Annals of 3D Printed Medicine.