Drug delivery: injections or light irradiation?

A new concept of on-demand drug delivery system has emerged in which the drugs are automatically released from in vivo medical devices simply by shining light on the skin.

Photo
Light instead of injections: A new concept of drug delivery system that automatically releases medication from an in vivo medical device by simply shining light whenever the drug injection is needed.
Source: POSTECH

A research team led by Professor Sei Kwang Hahn of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and Professor Kilwon Cho of the Department of Chemical Engineering at POSTECH have together developed an on-demand drug delivery system (DDS) using an organic photovoltaic cell coated with upconversion nanoparticles. This newly developed DDS allows nanoparticles to convert skin-penetrating near-infrared (NIR) light into visible light so that drug release can be controlled in medical devices installed in the body.

For patients who need periodic drug injections as in the case of diabetes, DDSs that automatically administer drugs in lieu of repetitive shots are being researched and developed. However, its size and shape have been restricted due to limitations in power supply for operating such a device.

The research team found the answer in solar power. Upconversion nanoparticles were used for the photovoltaic device to induce photovoltaic power generation with NIR light that can penetrate the skin. An organic photovoltaic cell coated with a core-shell structured upconversion nanoparticles was designed to operate a drug delivery system made of a mechanical and electronic system by generating an electric current upon irradiation of NIR light. When electricity is applied in this manner, the thin gold film sealing the drug reservoir melts and the drug is released.

"The combination of a flexible photovoltaic cell and a drug delivery system enables on-demand drug release using light," explained Professor Sei Kwang Hahn. "The drug delivery system is activated using near-infrared light that is harmless to the human body and is highly skin-penetrating."

He added, "Since this enables nimble control of drug release of medical devices inserted into the body by using near-infrared light, it is highly anticipated to contribute to the development of phototherapy technology using implantable medical devices."

The research was published in Nano Energy.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Related articles

A new way to deliver drugs through the skin

A new way to deliver drugs through the skin

Scientists have showed that applying "temporal pressure" to the skin of mice can create a new way to deliver drugs.

Therapies without drugs

Therapies without drugs

Researchers are investigating the potential of microimplants to stimulate nerve cells and treat chronic conditions like asthma, diabetes, or Parkinson’s disease.

Smart patch automatically delivers insulin

Smart patch automatically delivers insulin

Researchers have developed a smart insulin-delivery patch that could one day monitor and manage glucose levels in people with diabetes and deliver the necessary insulin dosage.

AI makes strides in search for COVID-19 treatments

AI makes strides in search for COVID-19 treatments

A deep learning model that can predict how human genes and medicines will interact has identified at least 10 compounds that may hold promise as treatments for COVID-19.

Breast cancer-on-a-chip tests immunotherapy drugs

Breast cancer-on-a-chip tests immunotherapy drugs

Researchers have successfully designed and tested a system for rapid testing of large numbers of potential immunotherapy drugs.

Microbubbles deliver drugs directly to tumors

Microbubbles deliver drugs directly to tumors

Research has shown how microbubbles carrying powerful cancer drugs can be guided to the site of a tumour using antibodies.

COVID-19: AI platform finds best combination of available therapies

COVID-19: AI platform finds best combination of available therapies

An AI platform derives an optimal combination of available therapies against SARS-CoV-2 - the optimal drug therapy was a combination of the drugs remdesivir, ritonavir, and lopinavir at specific doses.

Soft robots, origami combine to deliver treatments

Soft robots, origami combine to deliver treatments

Researchers have found a way to send tiny, soft robots into humans, potentially opening the door for less invasive surgeries and ways to deliver treatments for several conditions.

Supercharged bandages to revolutionise chronic wound treatment

Supercharged bandages to revolutionise chronic wound treatment

Plasma-coated bandages could revolutionise the treatment of chronic wounds such as pressure, diabetic or vascular ulcers that won't heal on their own.

Popular articles

Subscribe to Newsletter