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Wireless electronic implant delivers antibiotic, then dissolves

Wireless electronic implants deliver antibiotic, then harmlessly dissolves

November 25, 2014
Optical (and corresponding IR) images of the dissolution of implant device (top row: powering induction coil with resistor/heater) (credit: Tufts University)
Imagine an electronic implant that delivers a drug when triggered by a remote wireless signal — then harmlessly dissolves (no post-surgical infection concerns, no fuss, no muss) within minutes or weeks.
That’s what researchers at Tufts University and the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana have demonstrated* in mice, using a resistor (as a source of heat for releasing drug and help dissolving the implant) and a power-receiving coil made of magnesium deposited onto a silk protein”pocket” that also protects the electronics and controls its dissolution time.
Schematics of induction coupling between the primary coil and the implanted receiver coil for wireless power delivery (credit: Tufts University)
There have been other implantable medical devices, but they typically use non-degradable materials that have limited operational lifetimes and must eventually be removed or replaced — requiring more surgery.
The research was published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition the week of November 24–28, 2014. and was supported by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.

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