Close up photo of a micro chip

An implantable micro chip could release daily doses of medication on a regular schedule.

Tonight’s music video is “Neversleep” by ALIENS.

Scientists have completed a successful clinical trial of an implanted microchip that released daily doses of osteoporosis drugs. From the Guardian:

Seven Danish women with the bone disease osteoporosis had the chips implanted under their skin for 20 days in the first human trial to assess the safety of the technology. The devices released a dose of drug at a specific time each day, replacing the daily hormone injections currently used to manage the disorder.

The work is a major step towards an implantable “pharmacy-on-a-chip” that could be filled with a variety drugs to treat long-term conditions such as cancer, heart disease and multiple sclerosis, and programmed to dispense them automatically. While the implants remove the inconvenience of popping pills and, for some patients, the pain of regular injections, the greatest benefit will come from patients receiving the right dose of the right medicine on time. The failure of patients to take drugs as recommended is one of the most common obstacles to effective healthcare.

[...] In a half-hour procedure under local anaesthetic, women aged 65 to 70 had the domino-sized chip implanted through a 2.5cm-long incision just below the waistline. All were able to walk out of the surgery and leave the hospital without help. Several weeks after the devices were implanted, doctors programmed them over a wireless link to deliver escalating doses of an osteoporosis drug called parathyroid hormone. Each chip held 20 doses of the drug in tiny wells covered with thin wafers of platinum and titanium. When a small current is applied to the cover, it melts to release the drug inside. The molten speck of metal resolidifies on the chip.

Future versions of the chip could hold 365 doses for daily release, or add sensors that release drugs based on conditions in the body. Vanguard Vivian, who shared this link, suggested one important possible use for the technology:

Bonus: Fist Bump With Obama For Equal Rights from the Austin Chronicle

Housekeeping notes:

  • Please review our About Us page if you need a refresher on site rules, and
  • We encourage you to use our flag system — if you see an abusive comment, user or post, please flag it rather than replying. We review every flag and take the best action available to us.
  • If you have questions or concerns about Firedoglake-specific issues, please limit their discussion to Watercooler posts rather than starting new posts or making off-topic comments in others. But remember,
  • Firedoglake editors and staff are not allowed to comment on any moderation decisions.

The Watercooler is an open conversation. Ask questions, share some links, and tell me about your weekend!

Photo by Jeff Nelson released under a Creative Commons Share Alike license.