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Manufacture Technology and Equipment

Thinking Outside the Pyramid

Simon Gaisford, Reader in Pharmaceutics and Head of the Department of Pharmaceutics at University College London (UCL) has a keen interest in the concept of 3D printing solid dosage forms. Earlier this year, Gaisford and his team used 3D printing to give tablets a geometric makeover. The group created several shapes that are difficult to produce using traditional tablet manufacturing techniques, including a cube, pyramid, cylinder, sphere and torus (1) – they even experimented with animal-shaped tablets. But the project wasn’t about producing weird and wonderful geometries just for fun; different shaped tablets have different drug release profiles – and could be useful for personalized medicine. The pyramid dissolved the fastest, whereas the cylinder was the slowest – drug release was dependent not on the surface area, but on the surface area-to-volume ratio.

“With 3D printing, it is possible to print tablets of any size and shape – and the minimum production run is one,” says Gaisford. “This means we can (i) explore the effect of geometry on drug release rates in a way never possible before, (ii) construct multi-layered or multi-faceted tablets (such as ‘poly pills’), and (iii) truly consider the paradigm of personalized medicines where the dose or dose combination can be tailored to the patient.”

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Stephanie Sutton

Making great scientific magazines isn’t just about delivering knowledge and high quality content; it’s also about packaging these in the right words to ensure that someone is truly inspired by a topic. My passion is ensuring that our authors’ expertise is presented as a seamless and enjoyable reading experience, whether in print, in digital or on social media. I’ve spent seven years writing and editing features for scientific and manufacturing publications, and in making this content engaging and accessible without sacrificing its scientific integrity. There is nothing better than a magazine with great content that feels great to read.

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