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Drug delivery implant can help with chronic disease management

A recent study found that using a remote-controlled drug delivery implant can help with chronic disease management.

Millions of people worldwide suffer from chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and other ailments that require a lifelong treatment option.  Researchers examined the benefits of implanting a drug delivery device that can regulate and provide chronic disease management. This study used an in-vitro type of device that can release medication as the first line of treatment for high blood pressure and rheumatoid arthritis remotely.

Researchers at Houston Methodist Research Institute used a device that was remotely controlled using Bluetooth to successfully deliver continuous dosages of two chronic disease medications. The device used is called a nanochannel delivery system (nDS), and it released the medications without using pumps, valves, or a power supply. This device can be used for up to a year without any refills.

The device is battery operated and contains a microchip that relies on wireless communication. The device was implanted under the skin and programmed to release on three different drug settings: standard, decreased, and increased. This device is a step ahead compared to the medical devices that are currently on the market today. Insulin pumps or pain implants rely on either an external port or pumping mechanism that needs to be refilled every few months. These are not required for the nDS device. The benefit of this device is the medication amount and schedule can be tailored for each patient and can provide medicine for months, even years before it needs to be refilled.

Though further studies and developments may be required, this study provides a foundation for future studies on chronic disease management and the use of these kinds of medical devices.

Written by Nicole A. Brown, MS


Trani, N.D., Silvestri, A., Bruno, G., Geninatti, T., …, Grattoni, A. (2019). Remotely controlled nanofluidic implantable platform for tunable drug delivery. Lab on a Chip. doi: 10.1039/c9lc00394k

Smith, G. (2019). Remote-controlled drug delivery implant size of grape may help chronic disease management. Retrieved from

Photo credit: Houston Methodist



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