DA defines personalised medicine as providing ‘the right
patient with the right drug at the right dose at the right time’.
With current advances, the ability to estimate the
susceptibility of a particular drug for an individual patient using
genomic profiling, and the ability to deliver drugs to a specific cell
or organ by homing to its ‘signatures’ on the cells without
adversely acting on other non-targeted cells, has revolutionised
the pharmaceutical industry by providing us with a wider scope of
In our laboratories at UCLan, we have specific focuses on
nanomedicines for targeted drug delivery to cancer and infectious
diseases. Specialist equipment required for the development and
characterisation of novel polymeric and lipidic therapeutic drug
delivery systems for pulmonary and transdermal delivery are
available in our research laboratories. These nano-based systems
have also successfully been used to show improved therapeutic
effect in purposely designed
for improved clinical applications on these nano-based systems
warrant further investigation, particularly for the understanding on
molecular targets and uptake mechanisms.
Personalising the dose and drug combination
One major implication of personalised medicine is the
personalisation of dose and drug combination, this could simply
relate to the dose adjustments required for drug treatments for
patients with, for example, hepatic or renal impairment, where the
therapeutic and toxic response to the drugs may vary significantly.
Clinical data indicated different therapeutic responses from
individuals with varied disease manifestations and tolerance.
To help improve a patient’s outcome and responses, the demand
for a unique medical approach tailored for individual patients is
on the rise. The development of pharmacogenomics enables a
more patient-specific approach to dosing and dose combinations,
instead of using the standard mass produced medicines based
on a ‘One Size Fits All’ concept.
The use of a dose dispenser to
produce medicines as per a patient’s demand would therefore be
an attractive approach to address the challenges of personalised
medicine. An ‘ideal’ dose dispenser used for such medicine
production should be highly adjustable, affordable, controllable by
network, and of minimal space requirements. More importantly, it
should also allow the production of safe, efficacious and good
An integrated solution
In an increasingly connected smart living society, patients will be
surrounded by different type of sensors in addition to purpose-
built detectors implanted in their own bodies. These developments
open the door for a valuable opportunity to have a flowing in-line
information about an individual’s physiological parameters and
responses to a given treatment. This creates new possibilities of
future scenarios where tablets are produced via a mini-dispenser
in response to the individual’s clinical needs, and following
healthcare specialists’ orders through an integrated healthcare
network. The suggested strategy allows faster and more efficient
use of healthcare resources by adopting a more holistic approach
towards medical care.
Modifying the solid dosage form has mainly been carried out
through using multiple low-dose tablets or splitting and dividing
larger ones. The introduction of a score in the middle of tablets
allows a simple dose adjustment for halving the tablet. However,
the use of the splitter is difficult for some groups of patients, for
instance the elderly and patients with arthritis. In addition,
splitting solid dosage forms, such as a tablet, could result in
dosing inaccuracy and destroy the release kinetics of modified
release preparations that are designed for controlled and
extended release of the active drug.
including enteric-coated products, could also be affected where
the coating is generally used to prevent premature degradation of
the drug in the stomach, or protect patients from the drug, or
influence drug deposition site and deposition time.
One common method of dose personalisation is the exploitation
of liquid dosage forms. Personalisation has been easily achieved
by altering the volumes of these preparations to be administered
via the use of various dosing aids that form part of the packaging.
However, its manufacturing equipment occupies large spaces and
implicates significant increase in dosage form volume and costs.
Moreover, formulating a drug in a liquid dosage form is usually
3D printing could change the way we make tablets and tailor them on demand
to suit a particular patient’s need
I S S U E S E V E N
H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA Lwww.horizon2020projects.com
P R O F I L E
S O C I E TA L C H A L L E N G E S : H E A L T H & W E L L B E I N G
Fig. 1 A 3D printer can function as a mini-dispenser to tailor an
individual patient’s dose in response to a changing clinical data