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Wireless Drug Chip

The world’s first programmable drug-delivery chip passes the test, accurately and safely delivering an osteoporosis drug.

Jef Akst
Jef Akst

Jef Akst is managing editor of The Scientist, where she started as an intern in 2009 after receiving a master’s degree from Indiana University in April 2009 studying the mating behavior of seahorses.

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The drug delivery device (on right) next to an everyday computer memory stick.COURTESY OF MICROCHIPS, INC., MASSACHUSETTS

Programmable, wireless microchips used to deliver drugs have reached a critical milestone—successfully administering daily doses of the osteoporosis drug teriparatide, normally given by injection, to seven women aged 65 to 70.

Developed by MIT professors Robert Langer and Michael Cima and scientists at Massachusetts-based biotech MicroCHIPS Inc., this is the first time such chips have proven their worth, Langer said in a press release. Given their wide applicability, the chips may just change how doctors monitor their patients’ medical care.

“You could literally have a pharmacy on a chip,” Langer said in a press release. “You can do remote control delivery, you can do pulsatile drug delivery, and you can deliver multiple drugs.”

The results were reported last week in Science Translational Medicine.

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