A research team consisting of researchers from Seoul National University (SNU) and Dankook University has developed an implantable multi-storage device, which can administer drugs using infrared rays that eliminate the need for subcutaneous injections.
Repeated subcutaneous injections cause a great deal of pain and economic burden on patients. Notably, pediatric patients suffering from growth hormone deficiency or diabetes have to inject themselves regularly with the treatment, which causes great pain for the patients.
To solve this problem, the team, led by Professors Choy Young-bin from SNU and Choy Jin-ho from Dankook University, the researchers developed a device that implants several sealed drug storages under the skin and releases the drug as needed by applying an infrared ray with an external device.
The team designed the near-infrared ray to release only the specific drug, including growth hormone, into the body by selectively removing the protective film for the specified drug storage unit.
"The newly developed device, which can be administered with near-infrared rays, is of great significance as it is a new-concept medical device which can relieve the inconvenience of patients who need long-term, repetitive injection medication due to chronic diseases," Professor Choy Young-bin said. "In a mouse experiment, we were able to shoot a near-infrared ray to the skin and deliver a given amount of growth hormone to the rat's blood vessel at the desired time."
As the drug storage is activated with only infrared rays and without batteries or drives, it can be reduced to a size transplanted into the body, he added.
Researchers explained that with the current technology, it is possible to install drug storage that can store 360 types of drugs, on a transplanting device as small as 2.7 m x 7cm.
"We plan to make the implants even smaller, and ultimately, over time, develop biodegradable drug storage that eliminates the need for a removal surgery," the SNU professor said.