Imagine getting unwanted medication via remote control.
Now, A Remote-controlled Device That Dispenses Medication!
Experts claim the device could overcome one of the most common obstacles to effective medical treatment, of delivering precisely controlled drugs to the body part that needs them.
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) found results from the first human study of the microchip encouraging.
The team successfully used implants to deliver daily doses of an osteoporosis drug normally given by injection.
One of the chip’s developer Robert Langer, the David H. Koch Institute Professor at MIT stated, “You could literally have a pharmacy on a chip. You can do remote control delivery, you can do pulsatile drug delivery, and you can deliver multiple drugs.”
1st human trial
The human trial was conducted in Denmark in January 2011. It involved seven women aged 65 to 70 years who were afflicted with a severe form of osteoporosis.
The microchips were surgically implanted in a 30-minute procedure using local anesthesia for a period of four months. The device was programmed to automatically emit once-a-day dose of an osteoporosis drug called teriparatide.
The study used tiny pinprick-sized microchips pockmarked with 20 doses of drug-filled reservoirs each sealed with a thin layer of platinum and titanium cap that was wired to a power source. Electrical signals pop open the caps, dispersing the drug inside.
Blood tests revealed the implant delivered the drug as effectively as the women's daily injections. The device proved to be safe and the participants reported that they often forgot they had an implanted microchip.
Moreover, the women preferred the device over daily injections for future treatment.
The next step
Though the clinical trials focused on osteoporosis, experts theorize the technology could prove effective in treating numerous conditions that require frequent or daily injections.
Lead author of the study, Robert Farra, who is also the chief operating officer of MicroCHIPS Inc. stated, “Patients with chronic diseases, regular pain-management needs or other conditions that require frequent or daily injections could benefit from this technology.”
MicroCHIPS developers are also working on a device that can deliver dosages for over an year.
The results were published on line edition of Science Translational Medicine.