Magnetic implant could revolutionise drug delivery

pharmafile | February 15, 2017 | News story | Research and Development University of British Colombia, University of British Colombia - Device next to Canadian one dollar coin., magnetic implant 

Researchers from the University of British Columbia have invented a new method of drug delivery that relies on magnets to deliver medication to the patient. The device is activated via a magnet above the skin, with different levels of doses being administered via differing strengths of the applied magnet. The delivery option could potentially provide an alternative to patients who are unable to take numerous pills or have intravenous injections.

The device is six millimetres in diameter and is made from a silicone sponge, with magnetic carbonyl iron particles, that is wrapped in a round polymer. The drug is injected into the advice which is then implanted into the patient. When a magnet is passed over the device, the magnetised sponge warps to deliver a measured dose.

“Drug implants can be safe and effective for treating many conditions, and magnetically controlled implants are particularly interesting because you can adjust the dose after implantation by using different magnet strengths. Many other implants lack that feature”, explained leader author, Ali Shademani, a PhD Student at UBC.

The implant has so far only been tested on animals in the release of a prostate drug. The drug, docetaxel, was found to deliver the drug in the correct doses and the potency of the drug did not suffer as a result of being held within the device whilst having the desired affect on cancer cells.

“This could one day be used for administering painkillers, hormones, chemotherapy drugs and other treatments for a wide range of health conditions,” said Mu Chiao, supervisor to Shademani and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at UBC.

The potential for the drug is relatively wide, the next stage will be testing the device within humans and testing its validity for long-term use.

Ben Hargreaves

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