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Medication

Might Professor Grinstaff's superhydrophobic material one day form the basis of implants t...

Scientists have developed a new material that can slowly release medication over a period of several months. It's hoped that the "superhydrophobic material" may one day lead to implants that would assist in the treatment of chronic pain, and in the prevention of recurring cancer tumors, by gradually releasing medication over a period of months. The team of scientists is now planning in vivo experiments to gauge the effectiveness of the material in living organisms.  Read More

Scientists have created microneedles made from silk, which are said to offer several advan...

Microneedles continue to show promise as a replacement – in at least some applications – for the hypodermic needle. Typically, a sheet containing an array of the tiny needles is adhered to the patient’s skin, like a bandage. The microneedles painlessly pierce the top layer of skin, then gradually deliver the medication within them by harmlessly dissolving into the patient’s bloodstream. As an added bonus, once everything is complete, there are no bio-hazardous used needles to dispose of. Now, bioengineers from Massachusetts’ Tufts University have developed what they claim is an even better type of microneedle, which is made from silk.  Read More

A patient inserts a medicated contact lens (Photo: Jeff Etheridge/Auburn University)

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

Each nanochannel electroporation device incorporates two reservoirs joined by a nanoscale ...

One of the key processes in gene therapy involves taking cells from the patient, injecting a therapeutic genetic material into them, then reintroducing them to the patient’s body and letting them go to work. Unfortunately, getting that material into the cells can be tricky. While larger cells can actually be punctured with a fine needle, most human cells are too small for that approach to be possible. There are also methods of inserting random amounts of material into bulk quantities of cells, but these are inexact. Now, however, scientists at Ohio State University are reporting success with a process known as “nanochannel electroporation” (NEP), in which therapeutic biomolecules are electrically shot into cells.  Read More

Using a temperature-responsive micromold, MIT engineers created two-layer gel microparticl...

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

Brain-implanted polymer-coated electrodes could be used to detect and prevent seizures (Im...

In the future, people who are prone to seizures may get an array of electrodes implanted in their brains. These electrodes would be capable of detecting the onset of a seizure, and then releasing medication to prevent it from happening. While it might sound far-fetched, scientists at the University of Pittsburgh have already demonstrated the technology on lab rats.  Read More

A pharmacy robot selecting medication (Photo: Susan Merrell/UCSF)

The University of California at San Francisco Medical Center is now starting to use robots, not humans, to dispense medication from its hospital pharmacy. While robots are often brought into workplaces as a cost-cutting measure, UCSF claims that in this case, it's to minimize the chances of patients receiving the wrong medication. So far, it seems to be working out well – out of 350,000 doses of oral and injectable medication prepared to date, not a single error has occurred.  Read More

Scientists have used Salmonella bacteria (pictured) to eliminate viruses in mice (Photo: V...

Generally speaking, it is inadvisable to eat foods containing Salmonella bacteria – especially if you’re not a fan of diarrhea, fever or abdominal cramps. In the future, however, we might be swallowing genetically-engineered versions of the little guys as a way of treating viral infections. If we do, it will be thanks to research presently being carried out at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health. Scientists there have reprogrammed Salmonella bacteria to act as harmless transporters of virus-stopping enzymes.  Read More

Project lead researcher Dr. Stefan Bon

One of the promising areas in the field of nanomedicine is the development of vesicles – microscopic polymer sacs, designed to deliver a payload of medication to specific sites in the body. Unfortunately, the body’s immune system often sees these vesicles as intruders, sending antibodies to thwart them in their mission. Now, drawing inspiration from plankton and bacteria, chemists from the University of Warwick are developing armor coatings that should help vesicles to withstand or avoid those attacks.  Read More

Rizwan Bashirullah holds a pill capsule designed to signal when a patient has swallowed it...

Patients forgetting, bungling or just plain refusing to take their medication is a big problem for health care professionals and patients alike. It can exacerbate medical problems, spurring hospitalizations or expensive medical procedures and undercut clinical trials of new drugs. In seeking a way to confirm that patients have taken their medication a team of researchers have added a tiny microchip and digestible antenna to a standard pill capsule that automatically alerts doctors when the pill has actually been ingested.  Read More

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