At the University of Michigan researchers have developed a technique for printing drug compounds directly onto skin patches, ingestable strips, and just about any other drug delivery device. Multiple drugs can be combined together to be able to produce patient-specific regimens, which would be produced inside a pharmacy, clinic, or hospital.
Using a method called organic vapor-jet printing, a drug in the form of a powder is heated into a gas and combined with an inert gas. The combination of the two gasses is directed in a fine stream onto a cold surface. As the drug condenses on this surface, it forms a crystalline layer that remains stable. This drug layer can be tuned to have different characteristics, depending on the use case. What’s important is that throughout this process no solvents are used that can inhibit the functionality of the drug. Moreover, distributing a drug over a fairly large area, instead of being compacted inside a difficult to dissolve tablet or pill, can help it to enter the body more easily.
When comparing drugs delivered to a cell culture from a device printed using the new method and more traditional means, showed a comparable effect between the two. But, what’s interesting is that there are a myriad of potentially useful compounds that pharma companies have had to avoid using because they’re not soluble enough. Because the new technique makes drugs easier to uptake, it may allow for the production of useful drugs that would otherwise have little effect.
Here’s a short video from University of Michigan about the new drug printing method:
Study in Nature Communications: Printing of small molecular medicines from the vapor phase…