The cure comes over the air…

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012 by Roberto Saracco

A chip controlled by radio signal delivers the drug at the right time

Implantable chips are becoming more and more common and are slowly transforming the health care paradigm.

It is now several years that miniaturized drug dispensers can be implanted under the skin. At MIT, researchers have been at the forefront of this approach and now they have announced, in conjunction with MicroCHIPS Inc, the availability of a chip that can be controller by a radio signal to release daily doses of an osteoporosis drug that would normally require daily injections.

The chip is actually programmed to deliver specific quantity of medication at specific times. This programming takes place using radio signals sent at a frequency reserved for this kind of application.

Known as MICS, Medical Implant Communication Service, this communication is active for a few inches, so it is easy to control and to avoid “interference”…. In practice you go to your doctor and she will implant the chip under your skin and then will program it to deliver the medicine at the appropriate dosage at specific times using a radio link to her computer.

The chip can be reprogrammed as many times as required based on your reaction to the cure. It supports a much better drug delivery since the delivery can be finely tuned.

According to MIT researchers, in the future they see this kind of chips being implanted in most people, like having a pharmacy always available. Sensors will provide information on your condition and a doctor with a few clicks (assuming clicks will still be needed in the next decade) will be able to start the cure and modify it in real time depending on the data provided by the sensors.

And this, obviously, is just a starting step. It won’t take long before someone may start to embed the doctor under our skin, in form of a smart chip…that will be getting smarter by receiving information on specific health risk in a certain area and taking action knowing about you….
We have really just began. Nanotech, bioengineering, electronics, communications and big data converge in reshaping our world.


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