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Personalized Medicines: An Emerging Treatment Approach

What are personalized medicines?

Nowadays a lot is being talked about personalized medicines. What are these? These are the medicines that are prescribed and administered according to the molecular and genetic profile of an individual in precise dose, time and combination. Such form of therapy improve the efficacy of the treatment as well as reduce the incidences of side effects of the administered medicines. These are also known as“Precision medicines”. In personalized therapy, entire genome of an individual is analyzed and the most suitable and effective therapy for the patient is designed.The basis of such treatment is based on the different genetic markers present in different individuals that affect incidence, progression and response to the therapy. New medicines based on detailed molecular knowledge of disease mechanisms play an increasingly critical role in helping health care professionals provide the right medicine, to the right patient, at the right dose, at the right time.

Advances in personalized medicine will create a more unified treatment approach specific to the individual and their genome. Personalized medicine may provide better diagnoses with earlier intervention and more efficient drug development and therapies. Researchers are discovering genes via genetic studies which contribute to specific traits and define underlying mutational landscapes causing various diseases. Advances in molecular biologics and genetics has also developed ‘Companion Diagnostics’ ,where proteins, genes and specific mutations are assayed in a patient creating specialized individual treatments.

Fig: Companion Diagnostic test and personalized medicine (ref- bioMérieux website)

 

Companion diagnostics provides essential information for determining whether a patient is eligible to receive the associated therapy. These tests investigates the role of acquired and inherited genetic differences in relation to drug response and drug behavior through a systematic examination of Genes, Gene products, Inter- and intra-individual variation in gene expression and function.The wider use of pharmaco-genetic testing is viewed by many as an outstanding opportunity to improve prescribing safety and efficacy.

The personalized medicine categorizes individuals as per susceptibility to a particular dis-ease, their response to a specific treatment, or the nature or origin of their disease.For ex-ample,treatment of breast cancer in women using Herceptin (Trastuzumab), where HER2 protein is over-expressed and treatment of CML (Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia) using Tyro-sine kinase inhibitor (Imatinib) when BCR-ABL fusion gene is over-expressed. Mainly, biologicals (proteins and peptides based therapeutics)or biosimilars are used to treat many life threatening diseases through personalization of therapy.

There are several methods used for 3 D printing of dosage forms like Material extrusion or nozzle-based deposition system, fused deposition modeling, Sterolithography, Selective laser sintering (SLS), Powder based 3D printing, Inkjet printing etc. Despite of certain challenges like material selection, formulation design, machine engineering, process and control 3D printing technology can bring personalisation of medicine to reality.

Personalized medicine and 3D Printing

In order to provide patients with treatments according to their pathophysiology, information obtained from companion diagnostics is coupled with the information obtained about their diet, environment, lifestyle and epigenetic. Based on this information medication is designed for the individual. To deliver such medicine 3D printing of medicines is a very useful approach.Researchers are working on the development of 3D printing technique for the printing of personalized medicines into formulations (like pills, tablets or films etc.) containing accurate dose of the drug/s as per patient’s requirement.Customized drug combinations in a single dosage form containing modified release characteristics can also be printed with this technique.

Dr. Vaishali Kilor

Pharm, PhD
Associate Professor,
Postgraduate Department of Pharmaceutics,
Gururnanak College of Pharmacy, Nagpur (INDIA)

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