A new invention
Although there are various types of implants that deliver drugs inside the body, most cannot be controlled outside the body, or require surgery to replace them.
However, a new implant that uses light avoids both problems, according to New Atlas, citing the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Overcome previous negativity
Most current implants for drug delivery generally take one of two forms, one of which disintegrates harmlessly over time, so surgery is not required to remove it.
Other types can be activated remotely by radio signals or other means, but contain non-biodegradable electronic components, meaning the patient may need surgery to remove them.
In the new research, an experimental device was developed by a team of scientists at the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab at the University of Chicago and Northwestern University, and combines the best features of both types of implants.
The current prototype is made of magnesium, molybdenum and a polyhydride polymer, all of which are biodegradable.
It also has 3 drug-filled tanks, each with a built-in biodegradable battery.
The phototransistor’s electrical resistance drops when exposed to a certain wavelength of light, causing the battery to short-circuit, allowing the drug to travel into the surrounding tissue.
Because each tank’s phototransistor is sensitive to a different wavelength of light, the implant can use a different type of light to release three separate doses of medication each time.
In laboratory tests conducted to date, the innovative implant has been successfully used to release the pain reliever lidocaine in mice.
The light source consists of three external LEDs of different colors that shine through the animal’s skin and tissue at the implant site.
Dr Colin Franz, a researcher in Shirley Ryan’s laboratory who led the study, confirmed that the technology represents a major breakthrough in addressing the shortcomings of current topical drug delivery systems.
He added that this could have important and extensive effects for many topical treatment purposes, requiring medical staff to apply only to a specific point on the body so as not to cause damage or collateral damage to other organs in the body.
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