Implantable drug dispenser

Implantable microchip-based drug delivery device. Credit: Robert Farra et al./Science Translational Medicine

Few years ago, at MIT, researchers invented a drug dispenser that could be implanted under the skin to release medication at programmable time interval. Out of that research a start up was founded, Microchips Biotech, that has further perfected the dispenser embedding an electronic circuit that can be wirelessly controlled to deliver drug doses and to program their delivery.

Now the first clinical trial has been completed and it demonstrated the viability of the implant. 

The trial involved women with osteoporoses that needed to take daily doses of teriparatide. 
The chip can contain hundreds of doses, each one with up to a 1mg of drug (that is usually plenty, what we take is 99% neutral substance containing the drug in minimal quantity.

Each individual dose is hermetically sealed in a reservoir that can be controlled independently of the others. In principle it would be possible to fill different reservoirs with different drugs for more complex treatments. 

The chip can last for months, even years, and can be programmed by the doctor as many times as needed so that the posology can be changed as required.

This promises to be a very good solution for many types of chronic diseases, relieving the patient from the need to remember the dosage and times and letting the doctor to change the dosage over time, even from remote.

The next natural step, to me, would be to have these chips implanted "just in case" ready to deliver life saving drugs in case of need. I'm pretty sure this will happen...

Author - Roberto Saracco

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