Quick links: Biocapsules and 3-D printing
The folks at Gizmodo were impressed by a controlled drug delivery system using carbon nanotubes. The nanotube capsule is implanted under the skin and releases a drug or protein when exposed to a stimulus. For example, a capsule for a diabetic would release insulin in response to high blood sugar. The creator also proposed putting cells in the nanotubes that would secrete a necessary protein.
There are a number of examples of stimulus responsive drug delivery systems in the literature. The cell angle is unique, but I think there’s a lot of challenges to this sort of system. Can cells secrete enough of the protein to have a therapeutic impact? Is the trigger for release sufficiently sensitive? I also wondered about the long term viability of the cells, but the system’s creator, Dr. Loftus, addresses this in an update to the article.
Next up: New jaw for woman fabricated using 3-D printer. I’ve always been fascinated by 3-D printing, and I’ve read predictions that someday we’ll be using 3-D printers to create vital organs. I am worried about what happens to body parts when you’re printing and run low on toner!