Ultrathin Brain Needle Developed At MIT
An ultrathin needle drug delivery system has been developed at MIT for use in treating neurological disorders
(Ultrathin needle delivers drugs to brain)
MIT researchers have devised a miniaturized system that can deliver tiny quantities of medicine to brain regions as small as 1 cubic millimeter. This type of targeted dosing could make it possible to treat diseases that affect very specific brain circuits, without interfering with the normal function of the rest of the brain, the researchers say.
Using this device, which consists of several tubes contained within a needle about as thin as a human hair, the researchers can deliver one or more drugs deep within the brain, with very precise control over how much drug is given and where it goes. In a study of rats, they found that they could deliver targeted doses of a drug that affects the animals’ motor function.
“We can infuse very small amounts of multiple drugs compared to what we can do intravenously or orally, and also manipulate behavioral changes through drug infusion,” says Canan Dagdeviren, the LG Electronics Career Development Assistant Professor of Media Arts and Sciences and the lead author of the paper, which appears in the Jan. 24 issue of Science Translational Medicine.
“We believe this tiny microfabricated device could have tremendous impact in understanding brain diseases, as well as providing new ways of delivering biopharmaceuticals and performing biosensing in the brain,” says Robert Langer, the David H. Koch Institute Professor at MIT and one of the paper’s senior authors.
Fans of science fiction author Larry Niven recall the ecstasy plug from his 1969 story Death by Ecstasy. In the story, the hair-fine wire delivers current, rather than drugs, to the brain.
MIT researchers have hopefully been working on something like the micro-surgery tool from Raymond Z. Gallun's 1939 short story Masson's Secret to place the needle.
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