Remote-controlled drug delivery implant for chronic disease management

25 June 2019

Chronic diseases, such as hypertension and rheumatoid arthritis are persistent conditions, which require lifelong management. However, the patient burden associated with adhering to treatments can compromise the therapeutic efficacy and safety. In addition, the conventional one-size-fits-all treatment approach is increasingly challenged due to the nuanced intra- and inter-individual variabilities.

Despite significant technological advancements, which have led to sophisticated implantable drug delivery devices, flexibility in dosage and timing modulation to tailor precise treatment to individual needs remains an unmet need.

Researchers from Houston Methodist have successfully delivered continuous, predetermined dosages of two chronic disease medications using a nanochannel delivery system (nDS) that they remotely controlled using Bluetooth technology. The device provides controlled release of drugs without the use of pumps, valves or a power supply for possibly up to year without a refill for some patients. Their findings comprised a proof-of-concept paper recently published in Lab on a Chip, and the technology will be tested within space next year.

“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,” said Alessandro Grattoni, study author and chair of the department of nanomedicine at Houston Methodist Research Institute.

“This device could vastly improve their disease management and prevent them from missing doses, simply with a medical professional overseeing their treatment remotely.”

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