Many drugs come with complicated dosing regimens, making it difficult for patients to keep track of when it is time to take the next pill. Those taking drugs for hypertension, rheumatism, and other conditions can have very personalized schedules that require accurate timing. Researchers at Houston Methodist hospital have now developed an implantable device that can deliver a drug on its own, precisely when needed, and at the accurate dosage.
Unlike most previous drug delivery implants, this new device has no pumps, valves, or even a power supply. It works thanks to a nanofluidic membrane through which a drug can be diffused by changing the electric field applied to it. The device can release a drug slowly and evenly, keeping its concentration at a certain level and avoiding unnecessary dips and falls that can result in complications.
Using a Bluetooth device, the implant can be set to administer a drug at different rates, a change that can occur automatically whenever necessary.
To test whether this technology can survive under extreme conditions and work for long periods of time, the researchers plan on sending their implant to the International Space Station for a thorough evaluation.
The researchers have already tested the technology in vivo on animals, but tests in humans are still in the works.
“We see this universal drug implant as part of the future of health care innovation. Some chronic disease drugs have the greatest benefit of delivery during overnight hours when it’s inconvenient for patients to take oral medication. This device could vastly improve their disease management and prevent them from missing doses, simply with a medical professional overseeing their treatment remotely,” said Alessandro Grattoni, Ph.D., corresponding author of the paper in Lab on a Chip and chair of the department of nanomedicine at Houston Methodist Research Institute.
Study in Lab on a Chip: Remotely controlled nanofluidic implantable platform for tunable drug delivery
Via: Houston Methodist