Brain implant could deliver drugs when signaled by remote control

Submitted by Emma Tiller on Sat, 07/18/2015 - 14:40

A novel technique has been developed by researchers to deliver drugs. A new wireless device has the width of a human hair and delivers drug after it is implanted in the brain and activated by remote control.

The technology has been so far used in mice, but holds great promises for treating pain, depression, epilepsy and other neurological disorders in people, said researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The researchers who have developed the drug-delivering device have to say that it has paved the way for using brain circuits to target therapies.

The researchers say that the device could be implanted to deliver drug to a specific brain region and activate it with light. "We've designed it to exploit infrared technology, similar to that used in a TV remote. If we want to influence an animal's behaviour with light or with a particular drug, we can simply point the remote at the animal and press a button", said Jordan G McCall, a graduate student in the Bruchas lab.

There are good chances for manufacturing therapeutic drugs that could be activated with light. It is possible to get an unprecedented look at the inner workings of the brain by activating brain cells with drugs and with light, said co-principal investigator Michael R Bruchas, associate professor of anesthesiology and neurobiology at Washington University.

Details of the device have been published in journal Cell.