Innovation That Matters

Magnetic implant

Drug implant uses magnet to release regular doses

Sport & Fitness

Researchers from the University of British Columbia developed a tiny implant that releases prescribed dosages of medicine when a magnet is passed over it.

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Much smaller than a Canadian one dollar coin, the new medical implant created by a team in the University of British Columbia’s biomedical engineering program could eventually be used to treat a wide range of conditions. Particularly useful for patients requiring personalized doses of medicine at varying times, the implant could help diabetics, those undergoing chemotherapy and people taking regular doses of hormones.

Made from a silicon sponge surrounded by magnetic iron particles encased in polymer, the implant works when a magnet passed over it causes the iron to scramble and deform the sponge, releasing the drug into the surrounding tissue. Researchers believe that different sized magnets could be used to provide varying strengths of medicine when needed. So far only tested on animals, the team behind the design hopes to begin trials for long-term use in the next few years.

Personalized doses are becoming more common and more easily accessed via smart home healthcare. 3D printing is now used to provide bespoke daily vitamin supplements containing a mix of fast and slow release minerals. And smart schedulers help family and friends keep track of pill routines as well as general feelings of wellness. What is still missing in personalized, home-centric healthcare?



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