These futuristic implants could soon replace manual drug dosing
A team of Swedish researchers is working to develop electronic implants that could one day replace daily pills and deliver medication at the push of a button
London: A team of Swedish researchers is working to develop electronic implants that could one day replace daily pills and deliver medication at the touch of a button.
The team from Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden have invented a material that uses electrical signals to release molecules.
The new material, called a polymer surface, produces doses of a drug at regular intervals so that patients no longer need to remember to take their pills, the study published in the scientific journal Angewandte Chemie found.
It could be used to make futuristic implants that produce drug doses at regular intervals.
“Our polymer surfaces offer a new way to separate proteins by using electrical signals to control how they are bound to and released from a surface, without affecting the structure of the protein,” said lead author Gustav Ferrand-Drake del Castillo.
Some experts say around 50% of people do not take their prescribed medication correctly, putting their health at risk as they are unwilling or unable to follow the medication regimen, Daily Mail reported.
Less than a centimeter
Researchers say a prototype of the implant, which would be more targeted than a pill and reduce the risk of side effects, could be available within a year. It could be smaller than a centimeter in diameter and operated using a smartphone app.
“You can imagine a doctor, or a computer program, measuring a patient’s need for a new dose of drug, and a remote-controlled signal activating the release of the drug from the implant in the very tissue or organ where it is needed,” del Castillo said.
The implant requires only a small amount of energy because the polymer on the surface of the electrode is very thin, so it can react to a tiny electrochemical pulse.
The researchers also noted that the material can cope with changes in acidity, such as those found in the digestive system, if used there.
“Being able to control the release and absorption of proteins in the body, with minimal surgery and injections, is a unique and useful property,” del Castillo said.
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