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Wireless Automatic Drug Dispenser Implant

Wireless Automatic Drug Dispenser Implant

Implantable drug dispenser could be great solution for those on long-term prescriptions…

Researchers have developed a new implantable drug dispensary that automatically administers the correct amount of medication, at the push of a button.

The wireless chip, which is about the size of an average flash drive, promises to make drug delivery painless and more efficient.

The chip was designed by Robert Langer, the Institute Professor at the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT, who together with fellow MIT professor Michael Cima, developed the first version of the implantable drug-delivery chip in the late 1990s and set up a company called MicroCHIPS Inc to begin researching their device.

Devising a system that could work in living tissue wasn’t easy. To do this the researchers made the chip with an array of tiny wells that contain micro dosage of the drug. The wells are sealed with ultrathin layer of platinum and titanium.

wireless implant chip to administer drugs Wireless Automatic Drug Dispenser Implant

Implantable Medical Device Will Dispense Medication

To administer the drug, an external radio frequency is send to the chip, which then applies a voltage to melt the metal film and release the drug. The team also had to ensure the chips could not be hacked.

The recent study the team attempted to treat 7 women suffering from osteoporosis with a widely used drug, teriparatide – known for reversing bone loss in people with severe osteoporosis.

Teriparatide needs daily injections, to work effectively, and it’s so potent that it must be administered in micrograms; these two factors made the drug an ideal candidate for the study.

The chips were implanted into the abdomens of the participants in January 2011. Each chip contain 20 doses of the drug,

One problem that occurs when foreign objects reside in the body for a long duration of time is the formation of a fibrous, collagen-based membrane that begins to grow around the object. To see if this caused any problems with the delivery of the drugs, the chip remained in the patients for 1 year.

All patients liked the implants and all devices successfully delivered the correct dosages, with no negative side effects.

The next stage is to test different drugs for longer periods of time. In the future, Koch hopes that the chip will no only be able to administer drugs, but will also be able to sense exactly when to do this, instead of have a doctor push a button, or set a pre-programmed administering time.

The study was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.


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  1. Rebecca Boyle: A Wirelessly Controlled Pharmacy Dispenses Drugs From Within Your Abdomen. Popular Science, 02/16/2012.

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