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Researchers at Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD, USA) have devised a self-assembling cube-shaped perforated container...
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD, USA) have devised a self-assembling cube-shaped perforated container that could be used as a delivery system for medications and cell therapy. The microcontainers David H. Gracias, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at John Hopkins, believes that eventually, the microdevices could incorporate electronic components that would enable the cubes to act as biosensors within the body or to release medication on demand to a remote-controlled radio frequency signal.
The containers, which are no bigger than a speck of dust, can be mass-produced relatively cheaply through a process that mixes electronic chip-making techniques with basic chemistry. Furthermore, their location in the body can be tracked by magnetic resonance imaging because of their metallic nature.
"Our group has developed a new process for fabricating three-dimensional micropatterned containers for cell encapsulation and drug delivery," said Gracias, who led the lab team. "We're talking about an entirely new encapsulation and delivery device that could lead to a new generation of smart pills. The long-term goal is to be able to implant a collection of these therapeutic containers directly at the site of an injury or an illness," he added.