Thursday, October 20, 2011

Do biofuel cells have the potential to be the next big drug delivery device?

Many of today's problems faced by today's pace makers and other implants is that they require a battery for power.  Once that battery runs out, the patient has to go back into surgery to replace it with another.  BBC News reports that Joseph Fourier University of Grenoble has found a way to fuel cells by materials abundant in the blood stream - oxygen and glucose.  These biofuel cells can power those medical implants and also be a valuable tool in delivering drugs into the system.

According to the report, this is how it worked as implanted in a rat recently:
Their system is surprisingly straightforward. The electrodes are made by compressing a paste of carbon nanotubes mixed with glucose oxidase for one electrode, and glucose and polyphenol oxidase for the other.

The electrodes have a platinum wire inserted in them to carry the current to the circuit. Then the electrodes are wrapped in a special material that prevents any nanotubes or enzymes from escaping into the body.

Finally, the whole package is wrapped in a mesh that protects the electrodes from the body's immune system, while still allowing the free flow of glucose and oxygen to the electrodes. The whole package is then implanted in the rat.

At this year's Drug Delivery Partnerships event, Valeo Partners and Boehringer Ingelheim will be on hand to discuss innovative new strategies for biotech and Pharma to capitalize on opportunities such as the biofuel cell. For more information on this presentation and the entire Drug Delivery Partnerships agenda, download the brochure here.

What are some of the key advantages of having a drug delivery method that are self-powering through their enviornment?

1 comment:

  1. It seems those with pace makers and similar implants can now breath easier. This technology will save them the trouble of spending a considerable amount of time and money having to go back into surgery just because their implant ran out of batteries.