Nursing Advancements: Tech-Driven Drug Delivery
Some use the oven timer; others set a daily recurring reminder on their phones.
Still, others have a great memory while others still, for some reason, fail to take their prescribed medications at the appropriate time each day, despite these options. In other cases where a recurring medicinal dose is not as simple as taking a pill at 4 p.m. each day, medical professionals have been scratching their heads over the best method to ensure their patients are receiving their correct required medications as often as necessary.
According to Philly.com, Massachusetts Institute of Technology chemical engineering professor Robert S. Langer is committed to the idea that this is a problem—and sometimes a life-threatening one, to be sure—that can be solved with technology. Trials have already been successful in cases of folks with osteoporosis who, the news site reports, were “implanted [with] circuitry that delivers daily drug doses for weeks on end.”
If the solution seems too good to be true, the financial requirements of implementing such technology may give the medical community pause. In optimistic news, however, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has issued funds to cover a study of birth control drug-delivering chips to women around the world in countries with less access to birth control options.
Langer was recently one of eight recipients of the Franklin Institute’s prestigious Franklin medal, in life science, for his part in the decades-old initiative to deliver drugs via implant for long-term patient care. He and colleagues began their work in this area in the 1980s, which led to the 1996 FDA approval of Gliadel, “the first brain-cancer treatment that delivered drugs directly to the tumor site.”
The structure of the implant championed first by Langer and his research team is a dissolving polymer, which has since evolved into a coated stent that releases the drug gradually.
The Lexington, MA-based company that manufactures the chips, Microchips Biotech Inc., has established a partnership with Teva Pharmaceutical Industries which officials hope will lead to wider-spread uses for the drug delivery systems.