New 3D printing technology makes it possible to produce tablets in seconds: you can create a personalized medicine that will be most effective for a particular patient.

One promising application of 3D printing is the creation of personalized medicines, where dosages and combinations can be tailored to individual needs. The authors of the new work showed how you can quickly print drugs in a few seconds.

Scientists at University College London (UCL) use a 3D printing technology called photopolymerization. The production of medicines requires a resin containing a dissolved drug, as well as a photoreactive chemical that hardens during printing under the influence of light.

Usually during 3D printing, the resin is formed layer by layer and the desired object is created: this process takes several minutes. But the UCL team was able to reduce the time to a few seconds thanks to optimal light management.

This method is called volumetric 3D printing. Instead of printing layer by layer, the authors made it so that all the resin hardens. First, the apparatus highlights the image of the desired object on the resin at different angles. The light intensity is adjusted until polymerization occurs simultaneously.

The scientists used this approach to make paracetamol tablets in 17 seconds. The authors changed the composition of the resin and were able to fine-tune the release rate of drugs in tablets. During the experiment, the tablet printing speed was reduced to seven seconds.

According to the authors, paracetamol is one of the vast number of drugs that can be created in this way. They said their technology would be suitable for a rapidly changing clinical environment, and patients would be able to seek medications tailored to their individual needs.