In the latest IEEE Spectrum, Jeffrey T. Borenstein of the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory in Cambridge, Mass. and the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (MEEI) in Boston gives a detailed overview of the innovative drug delivery device his team is building. The implantable system is soft and stretchable, and it uses embedded microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and microfluidics to control drug delivery on a tight schedule over long periods of time.
A quote from the article:
Our system, which is still under development, consists of a programmable micropump powered by a small battery and controlled by an electronic circuit. It pulses precise quantities of a drug from a small reservoir into the inner ear. A flow sensor meters the delivery and sends out an alert if anything goes wrong. What we have so far is about the size of a D-cell battery, but we’re working to get it down to the volume of a single AA battery, which ought to be small enough to suit most patients. The device’s reservoir would hold enough medication for about one year. We’ve already tested the system on guinea pigs, and our results show that it can successfully deliver medication to the inner ear without damaging hearing.
Image: A prototype of the device from 2007 which is currently being miniaturized and outfitted with a push-pull pump.
IEEE Spectrum: Flexible Microsystems Deliver Drugs Through the Ear …