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Microchip that delivers drugs

Friday February 17th, 2012

Doctors have successfully tested a wirelessly controlled microchip that releases drugs into the body, it was announced yesterday.

The device is implanted into patients and allows drugs to be delivered at the push of a button.

It has been tested on patients with osteoporosis and could replace injection pens. Developers say these patients are especially likely to stop taking their drugs.

An inaugural clinical trial of seven women in Denmark found that treatment to deliver the drug teriparatide improved bone formation and reduced the risk of bone fracture.

Revealing the results yesterday (February 16) at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Vancouver, Canada, Dr Robert Farra, of USA-based MicroCHIPS, Inc said the technology would allow doctors to adjust their patient’s medication by computer or smartphone.

The research has also been reported in Science Translational Medicine.

Designed by a team of academic and industry scientists, the microchip holds daily doses of teriparatide inside tiny wells that open either to a pre-programmed schedule or via a wireless signal.

But when the microchip was implanted into animals, a fibrous collagen-based membrane developed around it, which could potentially slow down the absorption of medication. This study aimed to establish if the membrane decreased effectiveness.

The team implanted the pacemaker-sized microchip just below the waistline into the participants, all of whom were aged between 65 and 70, and tracked them for 12 months after which the device was removed.

The implant was found to deliver the medication just as effectively as daily injections, even though the fibrous membrane formed around the device.

First-in-Human Testing of a Wirelessly Controlled Drug Delivery Microchip. R. Farra; N.F. Sheppard; L. McCabe, R.M. Neer, J.M. Anderson, J.T. Santini, Jr., M.J. Cima, R. Langer, M.J. Cima. Science Translational Medicine February 16 2012

Tags: Europe | North America | Pharmaceuticals | Rheumatology

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