In the near future, being prescribed the perfect pill that’ll zap away your illness, free of side effects, could soon come to your medicine cabinet courtesy of 3D printing.

The American Heart Association says that researchers have recently used a computer algorithm to do just that. They plugged in patients’ medical info into a computer, and then a 3D printer used that data to churn out treatment individually tailored to each person’s unique biological characteristics. The research was a collaboration among teams from Wake Forest University, Columbia University, and the University of North Carolina, and their research appears on the AHA website.

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One of the 3D printing’s big advantages, whether you’re talking about car engine parts or drone wings, is that it’s highly customizable, allowing manufacturers to break free of literal molds. In this case, a pill’s dosage can be better customized to an individual’s age, weight, race, and kidney or liver functions. The team successful took patients’ data and printed 80 tablets with doses tailored to each person, ranging from 124 milligrams to 373.

This process increases medication effectiveness and cuts the chance of side effects, the AHA says. With cardiovascular drugs in particular, patient reactions can vary, so personalized medicine with unique dosage could help cut risk.

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The team successfully printed those personalized pills, but more work is needed to make the process cost-effective, and to set adjustment standards for individual drugs.

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[American Heart Association]

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