New students project pitch: 3D printers for producing customized medicine
Winning locally at the AINnovation Spaces Competition, two students from Birzeit University pitched their new project “New Pharma Leaders” to compete in the regional competition on December 18 in Morocco. The project merges pharmaceutical industries with computer science using three-dimensional printing technology (3DP) to create customized medication based on patients’ needs.
Marianna Musallam, a master’s student in the industrial pharmaceutical technology program, and Rand Inaim, a bachelor’s student in the computer systems engineering program, conducted the project under the supervision of Dr. Hani Shtaya, assistant professor in pharmaceutical technology, and Dr. Iyad Tumar, assistant professor in the electrical and computer engineering.
The project targets the needs of individual patients, with the potential benefits of increasing the efficacy and safety of medications. The students worked based on the idea that some patients need specific drugs among the various options that may be available for certain illnesses or reject drugs due to difficulties swallowing or other complications, and the alternative drugs are not manufactured by local pharmaceutical companies because of their high cost and low demand. Therefore, these patients must get the drugs from foreign countries, at higher costs and more time delays.
The medical industry has continuously recognized the benefit of 3D printing for a massive number of medical applications. New Pharma Leaders takes advantage of a new medical practice - individualized medications- and merges that practice with the technology of 3D printing technology to better control the components of medications.