Hebrew U team develops shape-shifting 3D printed pills for better targeted drugs
Prof. Shlomo Magdassi, director of the 3D and Functional Printing Center at the Hebrew University

Yissum, a technology transfer company affiliated with the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel, has developed a new 3D printing technique for producing drug capsules. The process, to be presented at the annual 3D Printing and Beyond conference today at the Hebrew University, utilizes custom 3D printed hydrogels with the capacity for delayed release for controlled drug dosage.

The initiative was spearheaded by Shlomo Magdassi, director of the Functional and 3D Printing Center of the Hebrew University, and Dr. Ofra Benny, researcher at the Drug Research Institute of the same university.

The innovation consists of manufacturing by 3D printing, with the Digital Light Processing System (DLP), a programmable oral dosage system in the form of sensitive hydrogels that swell, releasing the drug under specific conditions such as pH.

Among the advantages of this system are that in a higher pH the release of the drug is faster and this improves its absorption in the intestine, and that 3D printing offers greater flexibility in the design and manufacture of structure

The hydrogel-based process could pave the way for printing patient-specific medications that are capable of expanding, changing shape and being activated on a delayed schedule. As Yissum elaborates, the AM technique could enable doctors to customize dosage levels for prescription medications based on each patient’s needs.

“Professor Magdassi and Dr. Benny’s research is an excellent example of the kind of interdisciplinary transformational inventions that originate  from the Hebrew University,” commented Dr. Yaron Daniely, CEO and President of Yissum. “This technology is bringing us closer to a future in which the medical field can offer personalized, patient-centered care.