Researchers from the Houston Methodist Research Institute have developed a remote-controlled drug delivering implant for use in chronic disease management. The implant, which is about the size of a grape, delivers continuous, predermined dosages of a specific drug the through the use of a nanochannel delivery system (nDS). The nDS is remotely controlled externally using Bluetooth technology. The device can function for up to a year without a power supply or drug refill. The group's research was recently published in the journal Lab on a Chip.
“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,” says co-author Alessandro Grattoni, Ph.D., chair of the department of nanomedicine at Houston Methodist Research Institute.
From the Houston Methodist article: "The battery-powered implant contains a microchip that is Bluetooth enabled and relies on wireless communication. To prove the technology worked as planned, the microchip was programmed for three different drug release settings - standard, decreased and increased. With each setting, a specific voltage was applied to a silicon nanochannel within the implant to control drug release.
Current drug delivery devices, such as pain or insulin implants, rely on pumping mechanisms or external ports and typically need refills every couple of months. The Houston Methodist device is implanted under the skin and uses a nanofluidic membrane made with similar technology used in the silicon semiconductor industry. The drug dosage and schedule can be tailored to each patient, and the implant delivers the drugs for many months, even a year, before refills are needed."
Read more about remote-controlled drug delivering implant at Houston Methodist.