April 12, 2024

Wireless Drug Patch Developed for Chronic Disease Treatment

Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have developed a wireless drug delivery system, known as the Spatiotemporal On-Demand Patch (SOP), which can receive commands wirelessly from a smartphone or computer to schedule and trigger the release of drugs. The patch’s thin, soft platform is designed for enhanced user comfort and wearability, making it suitable for chronically ill patients.

The team, led by Professor Juan Song and Assistant Professor Wubin Bai, tested the SOP in a mouse model using melatonin in the microneedles to improve sleep. The research, published in the journal Nature Communications, suggests that this wirelessly controlled patch could potentially be used to deliver on-demand treatments for neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease.

The SOP’s ability to deliver multiple drugs simultaneously could address various aspects of Alzheimer’s disease, such as reducing beta-amyloid plaques, mitigating neuroinflammation, and enhancing cognitive function. The research highlights the collaboration between different disciplines, including pharmacology and applied physical sciences, and the involvement of undergraduate students.

The patch, which has received a provisional patent, enables highly localized treatment of specific tissues, organs, or regions within the body. Drug release can be triggered within 30 seconds in response to an electrical signal. Patients have the option to wear multiple patches simultaneously, reducing the need for frequent doctor visits or hospital trips.

According to Professor Song, the device can house multiple concentrated drugs and program their sequential release automatically. This feature is particularly useful in emergency situations or when immediate therapeutic action is required. The microneedles on the patch are coated with gold, which protects the drugs and surrounding tissues. When a low-voltage electrical stimulus is applied, the gold coating disintegrates, exposing the drug-loaded microneedles to the skin and initiating the controlled release of the drugs.

The level of specificity offered by the SOP ensures precise and customized drug delivery tailored to the needs of different conditions or specific regions of the body. This novel approach combines materials science and electrical engineering to achieve controlled drug release.

The development of the SOP brings us one step closer to a more efficient and patient-friendly method of drug delivery for chronic diseases. Future research will focus on refining the patch and exploring its potential applications in various healthcare settings.

In conclusion, the wireless drug patch developed by researchers at the University of North Carolina shows promise as a delivery system for chronic disease treatment. Its wireless control capabilities, thin and comfortable design, and ability to deliver multiple drugs make it a potential solution for various conditions, including neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease. The patch’s localized treatment and rapid drug release features offer convenience and efficiency for patients, reducing the need for frequent medical attention. This innovative approach to drug delivery has the potential to revolutionize healthcare and improve patient outcomes.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
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