Toronto, Feb 15 (IANS) Canadian researchers have developed a first of its kind magnetic drug implant that could offer an alternative to patients, especially the diabetics, who are struggling with numerous pills or intravenous injections.
The device, a silicone sponge with magnetic carbonyl iron particles wrapped in a round polymer layer, measures just six millimetres in diameter, and could one day be used for administering painkillers, hormones, chemotherapy drugs and other treatments for a wide range of health conditions, the researchers said.
“Drug implants can be safe and effective for treating many conditions and magnetically controlled implants are particularly interesting because you can adjust the dose after implantation by using different magnet strengths. Many other implants lack that feature,” said Ali Shademani, doctoral student at University of British Columbia (UBC) in Canada.
The drug is injected into the device and then surgically implanted in the area being treated.
When a magnet is passed over a patient’s skin, the device gets activates by deforming the sponge and triggering the release of the drug into surrounding tissue through a tiny opening.
Actively controlling drug delivery is particularly relevant for conditions like diabetes, where the required dose and timing of insulin varies from patient to patient, added John K. Jackson, a research scientist at UBC, in the paper published online in the journal Advanced Functional Materials.
“This device lets you release the actual dose that the patient needs when they need it, and it’s sufficiently easy to use that patients could administer their own medication one day without having to go to a hospital,” Jackson said.
For the study, the team tested their device on animal tissue in the lab using the prostate cancer drug docetaxel.
The results showed that it was able to deliver the drug on demand even after repeated use.