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Advances in health and medicine.
Marjorie Bekaert Thomas
Advances in health and medicine.
General Health Channel
Reported January 30, 2013

Getting Under Your Skin: New Ways to Deliver Drugs

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Have you ever forgotten to take your daily meds?  Well, you’re not alone! Studies show about 50-percent of patients do not take their drugs as prescribed. Researchers are hoping to change that.

“It’s possible that each of those containers can have a different drug in them,” Michael Cima, PhD, MIT Professor of Engineering, told Ivanhoe.

Dr. Michael Cima helped create the first pharmacy on a chip.

It can be programmed wirelessly to release medication from tiny reservoirs.

Osteoporosis patients, who have to inject themselves with bone growth drugs every day, were the first to test it.

“This was implanted just below the beltline underneath the skin,” Dr. Cima stated.

A month long study showed the implant delivered the drug comparable to the patients’ usual daily injection with no adverse side effects.

In another MIT lab, Carl Schoellhammer is testing high and low frequency ultrasound as a way to painlessly deliver drugs through the top layer of skin. You can see how the sound waves suspend the bubbles in this solution.

“And eventually these bubbles become unstable and they implode and that causes a little jet that hits the skin,” Carl Schoellhammer, Post-Doctoral candidate, told Ivanhoe.

This makes the skin permeable, so a patch of medication or even a vaccine could be applied and absorbed into the body without needles and, “without the fear of transmitting any disease from person to person,” Schoellhammer said.

Two new technologies taking the hurt and hassle out of drug delivery.

The ultrasound drug delivery system is still in the prototype phase.  Dr. Cima says the microchip could help patients who need drugs for things like diabetes, cancer, and multiple sclerosis.  The microchip’s first study tested 20 doses of medication; the next study will test the device with a year’s worth of drugs. There are also plans to make microchips with 30 years’ worth of medications.  MORE

More Information

Click here for additional research on Getting Under Your Skin: New Ways to Deliver Drugs

Click here for Ivanhoe's full-length interview with Dr. Michael Cima

If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Andrew Mcintosh at


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