Jan 4, 2021

MIT implant delivers drugs and the light that activates them

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

When taken orally or intravenously, medications typically travel throughout the body, producing unwanted side effects. MIT scientists are working on an alternative, that delivers both light and a light-activated drug directly to the target area.

So-called “photoswitchable” drugs contain light-sensitive molecules that essentially switch the drug on when exposed to a flash of light. This means that a pharmaceutical could remain inactive when moving through the bloodstream or digestive tract, only becoming active once it reached the place it was needed. As a result, few if any side effects would occur.

That said, how could a flash of light be delivered precisely to the target area, right when the drug was present at that location? Well, that’s where a device developed by the MIT researchers comes into play.

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