Scientists have developed an implant that can deliver pharmaceuticals to the desired point in the body and activate them with light.
When drugs are taken orally or intravenously, they usually spread throughout the body, causing unwanted side effects. This effect can be avoided by using photo-switchable drugs, the molecules of which are activated by light, and until that time remains inert and does not have a detrimental effect. The problem is that for this you need to simultaneously deliver the medicine and the beam of light to the desired area inside the body..
The solution was proposed by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who created a device that allows you to do this. The implant made by the team consists of two interconnected fibers with a thickness of several micrometers from different materials. One of them is hollow and serves as a tube or channel for drug delivery. The second is optical fiber for light transmission.
The small thickness of the paired fibers allows them to be surgically inserted into living tissue with minimal damage.
During the tests, the scientists inserted the implant into the ventral region of the tectum of the mouse brain, which is mainly responsible for the reward system and receiving pleasant sensations. Then, light-sensitive chemical compounds were injected through them, affecting the neurons in this area..
Created an implant for the delivery and activation of light-sensitive drugs
Then the subjects were placed in a case with a network of chambers, in one of which light was delivered through a device, activating the drug, causing the neurons to react. Subsequently, mice gave preference to this particular camera, which allowed the team to associate it with obtaining pleasant sensations and the correct operation of the device..
We also previously reported on the invention of the pain relief implant and stimulating neurons.
text: Ilya Bauer, photo: MIT / Anikeeva Lab