Remote Controlled Implant Drips Drugs Directly into the Brain

Scientists have developed a hair-thin implant that precisely delivers drugs to the brain, and it could reduce side effects.

RC Brain Implant / Image: Canan Dagdeviren/MIT
RC Brain Implant / Image: Canan Dagdeviren/MIT

A recent STAT article discussed a new implant that can drip medication into hard-to-reach parts of the brain with pinpoint precision. A team of biomedical engineers at MIT developed the device, which goes by MiNDS (miniaturized neural drug delivery system). Actually getting drugs inside the brain has proven difficult due to the blood-brain barrier, but MiNDS could allow physicians the ability to deliver drugs right where they’re needed most.

MiNDS is essentially two ultra-thin medication tubes inside a stainless steel needle the diameter of a human hair. The needle is inserted through a hole in the skull into the target brain circuitry, and an electrode on the tip monitors the change in electrical activity as the medication is delivered. Although the device has only been tested on mice and monkeys, a human application could be used to treat degenerative brain diseases like Parkinson’s.

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