The film could eventually be used to deliver drugs for cancer, epilepsy, diabetes and other diseases. It is among the first drug-delivery coatings that can be remotely activated by applying a small electric field.
"You can mete out what is needed, exactly when it's needed, in a systematic fashion," said Paula Hammond, the Bayer Professor of Chemical Engineering and senior author of a paper on the work appearing in the Feb. 11 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The film, which is typically about 150 nanometers (billionths of a meter) thick, can be implanted in specific parts of the body.
The films are made from alternating layers of two materials: a negatively charged pigment and a positively charged drug molecule, or a neutral drug wrapped in a positively charged molecule.The pigment, called Prussian Blue, sandwiches the drug molecules and holds them in place. (Part of the reason the researchers chose to work with Prussian Blue is that the FDA has already found it safe for use in humans.)
The electrical signal can be remotely administered (for example, by a physician) using radio signals or other techniques that have already been developed for other biomedical devices.
The films can carry discrete packets of drugs that can be released separately, which could be especially beneficial for chemotherapy. The research team is now working on loading the films with different cancer drugs.
Eventually, devices could be designed that can automatically deliver drugs after sensing that they're needed. For example, they could release chemotherapy agents if a tumor starts to regrow, or deliver insulin if a diabetic patient has high blood sugar.
"You could eventually have a signaling system with biosensors coupled with the drug delivery component," said Daniel Schmidt, a graduate student in chemical engineering and one of the lead authors of the paper.
Other lead authors are recent MIT PhD recipients Kris Wood, now a postdoctoral associate at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and Nicole Zacharia, now a postdoctoral associate at the University of Toronto.
Because the films are built layer by layer, it is easy to control their composition. They can be coated onto a surface of any size or shape, which offers more design flexibility than other drug-delivery devices that have to be microfabricated.
"The drawback to microfabricated devices is that it's hard to coat the drug over a large surface area or over an area that is not planar," said Wood.
Another advantage to the films is that they are easy to mass-produce using a variety of techniques, said Hammond. These thin-film systems can be directly applied or patterned onto 3D surfaces such as medical implants.
Stefani Wrightman, a 2006 MIT graduate, and Brian Andaya, a recent graduate of the University of Rochester and summer intern at the MIT Materials Processing Center, are also authors on the paper. The research was funded by the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research and MIT's Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies. Written by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office
Elizabeth A. Thomson | MIT News Office
What happens in the cell nucleus after fertilization
06.12.2016 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt
Researchers uncover protein-based “cancer signature”
05.12.2016 | Universität Basel
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
06.12.2016 | Health and Medicine
06.12.2016 | Life Sciences
05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering