Health Team

Microchips could deliver medication to chronically ill patients

Posted February 17, 2012

— For many people with chronic diseases, painful daily injections are the only way to get medication. 

But now, researchers in Boston have come up with a new pain-free way to deliver drugs. Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have found a way to use microchips to deliver important drugs to patients wirelessly. 

"You can literally have a pharmacy on a chip," MIT professor Bob Langer said. 

microchip Microchips could deliver medication

The implantable chip can release different types of drugs into the body at any time. Doctors can control how many doses of drugs are in the implant and when those drugs get released. Doctors can even adjust their patient's medication using a computer or cell phone.

One of the first sets of tests was on eight women with osteoporosis, a bone disease. Doctors released medication in more accurate doses into patients for one month without any side effects. 

The devices may also be able to help treat people with other chronic diseases like cancer, multiple sclerosis or heart disease. 

Doctors are continuing to research ways to develop chips that can hold more doses. They hope the chips will be ready for widespread use within five years.

"We're designing a chip to put a year's worth of drug on this chip," Langer said. 

Another benefit is that patients would no longer have to worry about carrying medications with them or forgetting to take daily doses. 

MicroCHIPS, a company based in Massachusetts, funded the study. 


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  • johnsmithfamily Feb 23, 2012

    I work in an oncology office, and honestly, I do not want this used. I agree with laurenfedorov when she says the bible states that something of this degree could be used as the mark of the beast. I understand that people are wanting eaiser treaments, and eaiser ways for people to maintain thier medications without having to remember to take a pill, but if it were to get into the wrong hands...what would happen? There are consequences for everything!

  • ligonmaterial23 Feb 22, 2012

    Now that would cut back on oxy and other script abuse and sales quite a bit . No one is going to steal it either well ..... they prob could but .

  • laurenfedorov Feb 22, 2012

    Sounds good in theory, but be careful that no one abuses this or uses it for a purpose that was not intended. For example, this could be a precursor to the mark of the beast as described in the book of Revelation in the Bible. The Greek terms that speak of it in the book of Revelation speak of something that sounds very much like a microchip, although this was written nearly 2000 years ago (around 95 AD, long before the technology existed for microchipping and the like.
    In the right hands, it can be a blessing to those who are dependent on medications for medical conditions, which sounds like what the researchers are intending it to do. In the wrong hands, it could be a curse, a disaster. The possibilities are endless on both counts.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Feb 21, 2012

    Got any that hold Tequila? Or, THC?

    Push button. Feel good.

    Seriously, this sounds like a huge breakthrough that would only be limited by a drug's ability to be concentrated and the storage capacity of the chip. Cool!