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Hate needles, but need medicine? Introducing the wireless drug delivery chip.

The implantable medical device that allows repeated wireless drug delivery in lieu of injections. Photo: M. Scott Brauer

Hope you MAT 120 students had a great weekend!  I know I did!  I found this interesting article a couple of weeks ago when doing my daily Engadget browse, and decided to write about it.  A lot of good information is presented in the article, so check it out after reading this post.  It will be linked at the bottom.

hate needles.  I know that blood is drawn from them, and drugs are administered through them, but seriously they suck.  But thankfully, two MIT professors, Robert Langer and Michael Cima had an idea 15 years ago to develop a programmable wireless microchip that delivers drugs.  It would be implanted into the patient with a certain number of doses.  The doses can be released based on a programmed schedule or triggered remotely by radio communication over a special frequency called Medical Implant Communication Service (MICS).  The current versions work only within a few inches, but the researchers plan to extend the range.

The initial study was started in January 2011 in Denmark.  It was implanted into seven women aged 65-70 with twenty doses of the drug teriparatide.  They were stored individually and sealed in tiny reservoirs the size of a tiny pinprick.  The study found that the device delivered dosages comparable to injections, and there were no adverse side effects as well as the dosages had less variation than those given by injection.  The results, published Feb. 16, represent the first successful test of such a device and could help usher in a new era of telemedicine!

You could literally have a pharmacy on a chip.  […] You can do remote control delivery, you can do pulsating drug delivery, and you can deliver multiple drugs,” says Langer, the David H. Koch Institute Professor at MIT.

These programmable chips can do more than just deliver osteoporosis drugs, but medication needed for chronic pain management, insulin doses/readings, and can avoid the compliance issue that comes with a lot of drug regiments, including those where patients have to give themselves injections.  The researchers at MicroCHIPS, the company that funded the study, and was born after the initial findings from the MIT team in 1999, says the future looks promising.  Once a version of the implant can carry a larger number of doses, they plan to seek approval for further clinical trials.  The company has also been developing sensors to monitor glucose levels, and the idea of combining sensors with drug reservoirs on chips can adapt drug treatments to the patients specific and unique condition.

Here is the link to the Engadget article, and the MITNews source.

Don’t forget to check out the quiz on Blackboard!!  Thanks for reading, and make this last week before Spring Break count!


Rishi Sheth

P.S:  Engadget showed a video a long time ago about Boston Dynamics Alpha Dog, a robotic pack-mule the size of a bull that can carry up to 400 pounds and it is unstoppable.  Below is the video of their new project, the bipedal PETMAN.  One step closer to the Robot Apocalypse!

This postscript, like the last one, and the video do not have related questions on the quiz, and are for your amusement only.


March 4, 2012 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

Nanotechnology used for Smart Paint

Hello MAT 120 Students!  My name is Rishi Sheth and I am new to this semester’s blogging project.  Our goal is to get more students interested in the field of IT Study and Technology.  There is a lot out there, and I am sure everyone can find something they’re interested in.  Before getting into my article I would like to share a bit about myself:  I am a senior here at ISU and I study Information Assurance.  I work at Enterprise System Support on campus doing IT support for those employed by the university (basically anyone not a teacher or student, that’s TechZone and Help Desk).  I hope through this semester what I share may conjure an interest in some of you to further seek out what is going on today in the world of technology.  With all of its vast avenues, I am sure it can lead to some great things for you folks.  So enjoy!

One of my favorite websites, Engadget, linked an article last week about “smart paint”.  This paint is infused with nanotechnology to detect structural damage, and is likely going revolutionize structural safety, if funded, tested, and created commercially.  Developed at the University of Strathcylde in Glasgow, a team of researchers learned using nanotechnology can create a sensory network in the paint that can detect minor structure faults and damage before becoming a severe problem.

This can present enormous safety foresight into incidents we hear about each year: bridges, dams, roads, and other majorly used large-scale structures, some of which are decades old and in serious need of upgrade and repair. The paint they use is a mix of highly aligned carbon nanotubes and fly ash – a recycled waste material. Together they create a stable, cement-like material that is great for harsh environments.  The paint simply needs to be sprayed onto the surface, making it easy to coat any size structure and less time consuming.

How this works is quite amazing! When the nanotubes “bend”, the conductivity changes indicating a structural problem is developing.  Dr. Mohamed Saafi of the University’s Department of Civil Engineering added this to the end of the press release:

“The smart paint represents a significant development and is one that has possibly been overlooked as a viable solution because research tends to focus on high-tech options that look to eliminate human control. Our research shows that by maintaining the human element the costs can be vastly reduced without an impact on effectiveness.”

Check out the Engadget article here.  There is a press release from the university at the bottom.  I encourage you all to check out the website daily for exciting news in many facets of technology. They have great editors, blogs, videos, and previews of upcoming gadgets.

Don’t forget to check out the quiz on Blackboard!

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the semester.


Rishi Sheth

P.S:  I watched this video also after reading the article.  Engadget is witty with their use of videos and articles relating to advanced robot technology, including using the “robot apocalypse” tag in their search bar.

Here is a link to the article.  NOTE:  There will be no quiz questions related to this.  It’s just for fun!

February 5, 2012 at 11:17 pm Leave a comment

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