Smart Drug Delivery System

New material could automatically deliver medication inside your body.
Marsha Lewis, Contributing Producer

There are many ways to get medication inside the body, from pills to needles to patches.

Now scientists at Texas A&M University in College Station have discovered a new method that could change drug delivery. It’s what biomedical engineer Mike McShane calls a “smart” material.

“Smart materials are materials that respond to their environment,” said McShane.

The material is a gel that contains dye and microcapsules. Each of the tiny capsules can hold a sensor or drugs that can be released into the body.

Inside the body, the gel becomes a solid and an optical device allows researchers to see the dye in the material through the skin.

“The light that’s emitted back is measured, and that tells us what’s happening in the tissue,” said McShane.

The material can hold and dispense various doses of different drugs, and can even target certain areas of the body. This would allow doctors to control how fast and how much medicine a patient receives.

“So we can actually produce cocktails of drugs that would work over a period of time giving different amounts of drugs at different periods of time,” said Jason Roberts, a biomedical engineer at Texas A&M.

The material can also be used to monitor diseases like diabetes. It can pick up information like how blood sugar is being regulated in the body.

Because the implanted material can target specific parts of the body, it could eliminate side effects that patients experience from taking certain drugs. The scientists say the material is completely biodegradable.

“Basically, what we’re talking about is collecting data that we’ve never had access to before,” said McShane.

Get Inside The Science:

New Injectable Material Could Enable Targeted Drug Delivery, Embedded Sensor Tech

Mike McShane, Texas A&M University

Author Bio & Story Archive

Marsha Lewis is a freelance producer based in California.  She has won 11 National Telly Awards and nine Regional Emmy Awards for her work in local and national syndicated news.

I’ve dedicated my time to reporting and producing stories focused on medical, science and technology. I created a nationally award winning series dedicated to promoting women and their great accomplishments.  Now I’ve taken that expertise outside the traditional TV news format and broadened the viewership to people around the world.