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Thin film delivers controlled drug doses.

According to a recent study, a new thin-film coating can deliver controlled drug doses to specific targets in the body following implantation, essentially serving as a micro pharmacy. The film could be used to deliver drugs for cancer, epilepsy, diabetes, and other diseases. It is among the first drug delivery coatings that can be remotely activated by applying a small electric field.

According to the researchers, providers could control what is delivered when it is needed in a systematic fashion. The film, which is about 150 nanometers (billionths of a meter) thick, can be implanted in specific parts of the body. It consists of alternating layers of two materials: a negatively charged pigment and a positively charged drug molecule. The pigment sandwiches the drug molecules and holds them in place. The films can carry discrete packets of drugs that can be released separately, which could be especially beneficial for chemotherapy. The electrical signal is activated using radio signals or other techniques that have already been developed for other biomedical devices.

The team is now working on loading the films with different cancer drugs. The researchers hope that the devices eventually could be designed to automatically deliver drugs after sensing that they're needed (e.g., delivering chemotherapy if they sense that a tumor has begun to grow).

Nam, K.T., Wartena, R., Yoo, P.J., Liau, F.W., Lee, Y.J., Chiang, Y.M., et al. (2008). Stamped microbattery electrodes based on self-assembled M13 viruses. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 105(45), 17227-17231.
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Title Annotation:Just in
Author:McBride, Deborah
Publication:ONS Connect
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2008
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