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Remote Controlled Meds: Increased Accuracy, Decreased Side-Effects

4 MAR 2014

This week, the AAPS blog considers new research out of the University of Pittsburgh where scientists have developed a new remote-controlled drug delivery system. Pharmaceutical companies are increasingly focused on drug delivery in an effort to more effectively target disease. Innovations in cancer treatment have seen scientists experiment with a number of nanomaterials that move drugs throughout the body, controlling their trajectory and rate of release. The blog post, Remote Controlled Meds: Increased Accuracy, Decreased Side-Effects, explains that

In recent years, clinical research has revealed innovative solutions in the form of nanodiamonds, microdeedles, gold particles, silk and protein clusters; all of which represent a step forward with regard to precision and patient safety. It’s all about effectively targeted techniques that offer professionals better ways to administer medicines, track their effectiveness, and minimize unwanted side-effects. And now scientists have discovered what may prove to be the most significant advance yet – electronically controlled drugs that can be manipulated while inside the patient’s body.

The Pittsburgh team have combined nanosheets of grapheme oxide with a polymer scaffold that conducts electricity. The sheets are loaded with medicine and implanted into the body. Then, by way of ultraviolet light and electrical current, the researchers controlled the amount and rate of drug release. This type of delivery system enables practitioners to target the source of disease while leaving healthy tissues intact. As a result, both human error and dangerous side-effects are kept to a minimum. The electronically controlled system is ideal for chronic conditions, such as diabetes and epilepsy, but requires further testing before gaining approval for market release.