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We've had our eyes on contact lenses which aim to deliver medicine for several years. Now, a team of biomedical and chemical engineers from Alabama's Auburn University (AU) claims to have designed the first disposable lenses capable of delivering controlled doses of medication for as long as they're being worn. Read More
Fingerprints have been used to confirm or determine peoples' identities for over one hundred years now, but new technology is allowing them to be put to another use - drug testing. Intelligent Fingerprinting (a spin-off company affiliated with the UK's University of East Anglia) has just unveiled a prototype portable device that can detect the presence of illicit drugs or other substances in a person's system by analyzing the sweat in their fingerprints. Read More
Science fiction movies would have us believe that, in the future, pills (or possibly green wafers) will meet all our nutritional needs, but Harvard professor David Edwards sees things a little differently. Having already introduced the Le Whif chocolate inhaler, Edwards has now turned his attention to the world's most widely consumed psychoactive drug - caffeine. The AeroShot Pure Energy delivers a fine powder containing vitamin B and 100 mg of caffeine that dissolves instantly in the mouth. That's around the same amount of caffeine found in one large cup of coffee ... without the calories or coffee breath. Read More
We’ve previously looked at the development of cancer treatments that deliver drugs directly into cancer cells before releasing their chemotherapeutic payload to reduce the damage done to healthy cells. But a new protein “switch” approach developed by researchers at Johns Hopkins University changes the game again by instructing cancer cells to produce their own cancer medication, causing the cancer cells to self-destruct while sparing healthy tissue. Read More
Six years ago, researchers at the University of Birmingham discovered that more than half of the cancers of white blood cells they looked at responded in the test tube to the growth-suppressing properties of psychotropic drugs, including amphetamine derivatives such as ecstasy and weight-loss pills, and antidepressants such as fluoxetine (Prozac). Building on this previous work, the researchers have now discovered a modified form of MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy, they claim has 100 times more cancer-busting properties than the designer drug itself. Read More
Whether you want to deliver medication to specific cells or create scaffolds for building artificial tissues, currently one of the best media for doing so are polymer microparticles filled with drugs or cells. Traditionally, it has only been possible to make such particles in a few shapes, out of a few materials, and/or with only one layer of “cargo” inside. A new technique developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), however, could see multilayered microparticles being made in many shapes, from a wider variety of materials. Read More
While not delivering a knockout blow, the discovery of penicillin in 1928 provided a potent weapon in the fight against a wide range of bacterial infections. The quest to develop a similarly broad-spectrum drug to fight viral infections has proven more difficult but now researchers at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory have designed a drug that has so far proven effective against all 15 viruses it has been tested on. These include rhinoviruses that cause the common cold, H1N1 influenza, a stomach virus, a polio virus, dengue fever and several other types of hemorrhagic fever. Read More
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, around 200,000 women were raped in the U.S. in 2007 with the aid of a “date rape” drug – and because so many cases go unreported, the actual figure is believed to be 80 to 100 percent higher. GHB is one of the most commonly used drugs because it is odorless, tasteless and invisible when dissolved in water. Now researchers at Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Faculty of Exact Sciences have developed an easy-to-use sensor that, when dipped into a cocktail, can instantly detect GHB and another commonly used date rape drug, ketamine. Read More
Mice are frequently used as lab models when testing new drugs, and fluorescent dyes are sometimes injected into their bodies so that researchers can better see how those drugs are progressing through their systems. Unfortunately, the pictures obtained in this process start to become murky when imaging anything more than a few millimeters beneath the skin. Scientists from Stanford University have now devised a system that utilizes fluorescent carbon nanotubes to produce clear color images of organs that are located centimeters within a mouse's body. Read More
To minimize the toxic effects of chemotherapy, many researchers have been working to develop nanoparticles that that deliver drugs directly to tumors. But researchers at MIT claim that even the best of these nanoparticles are typically only able to deliver about one percent of the drug to their intended target. Now, a team has developed a new delivery system that sees a first wave of nanoparticles homing in on a tumor that then calls in a larger second wave that dispenses the cancer drug. In a mouse study, the new approach was found to boost drug delivery to tumors by over 40-fold. Read More