Health Research News

Drug Dispensing Implant Is Controlled By Bluetooth

The scientists from Houston Methodist hospital have now developed an implantable device that can deliver a drug on its own, precisely when needed, and at the accurate dosage.

Some times it can be difficult for the patients who are suffering from the chronic disorders like the arthritis, hypertension, diabetes and heart disease to take regular medications and some times they can miss their next pills.

The scientists from Houston Methodist hospital have now developed an implantable device that can deliver a drug on its own, precisely when needed, and at the accurate dosage.

Being developed at Texas’ Houston Methodist Research Institute, this is a small, flat, battery-powered device is designed to be loaded with one or more types of medication, and then the doctors will surgically implant it under a patient’s skin.

It then proceeds to release the drugs in precise amounts at controlled intervals that are specific to the patient, for up to a year before requiring a refill.

The device was made to externally transmit a specific Bluetooth signal to the implant’s microchip. Doctors can there by alter the voltage that’s applied to a silicon nano-fluid channel within the device.

To test this new technology, the researchers programmed the microchip for three different drug release settings—standard, decreased and increased.

With each setting, a specific voltage was applied to a silicon nano-channel within the implant to control drug release.

The study, published in the journal Lab on a Chip, shows that the implant can be used for long-term delivery of drugs for rheumatoid arthritis and high blood pressure etc.

Nano-channel delivery system (NDS) that they remotely controlled using Bluetooth technology.

The NDS 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.

“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.

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

said Alessandro Grattoni, Ph.D., corresponding author and chair of the department of nanomedicine at Houston Methodist Research Institute.

To test whether this new technology can survive under the extreme conditions and work for about long periods of time, the researchers  have been planning on sending their implant to the International Space Station for a thorough evaluation in 2020.



The Current drug delivery devices, such as pain or insulin implants, rely on pumping mechanisms or external ports and typically need refills every couple of months.

The Houston Methodist has developed a new device which is implanted under the skin and uses a nano-fluidic membrane made with similar technology used in the silicon semiconductor industry.

The drug dosage and schedule can be tailored to each patient, according to the need and this implant delivers the drugs for many months, even a year, before refills are needed.

This new technology has promised new ways of drug delivery especially for the disabled and patients who don’t keep up to their schedule.

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