Tiny Implant of the Future Means Never Forgetting Some Medicines

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Tiny Implant of the Future Means Never Forgetting Some Medicines

Implants for medications can keep patients compliant.

Many people on medication may find it challenging to remember to take the drugs. For some illnesses, an implant may one day replace the need to ingest the medicines.

A lab at Houston Methodist Research Institute is developing unique implants that can potentially deliver lifesaving medication, at a low cost for a variety of diseases.

Unlike current drug delivery implants that use pumps, the implants Alessandro Grattoni and his team are developing use nanochannels to release medication at the molecular level.

“This implant is inserted under the skin of the patient and then delivers the drugs for an extended period of time, for months and potentially years. And they continue releasing the drug until the drug is completely gone,” said Grattoni, chairman of the Department of Nanomedicine at Houston Methodist Research Institute.

The medicines are dispensed in a manner that is similar to the way sand moves in an hourglass. The drugs are released through membranes with the nanochannels inside the implants that range in shapes and sizes from around 2 centimeters to the size of a grain of rice. The differences would help accommodate different implantation sites and different drugs for specific diseases.

“They end up acting like the glands are like artificial glands inside of the body that do the things that the glands in the body normally do — secrete the necessary molecules when they are needed,” said Mauro Ferrari, president and chief executive officer at Houston Methodist Research Institute and an expert in biomedical nanotechnology.

Read on: Tiny Implant of the Future Means Never Forgetting Some Medicines

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