The micropump contains Baker's yeast and sugar in a small chamber. When water is added and the patch is placed on the skin, the body heat and the added water causes the yeast and sugar to ferment, generating a small amount of carbon dioxide gas. The gas pushes against a membrane and has been shown to continually pump for several hours, said Babak Ziaie, a Purdue University professor of electrical and computer engineering and biomedical engineering.
Such miniature pumps could make possible drug-delivery patches that use arrays of "microneedles" to deliver a wider range of medications than now possible with conventional patches. Unlike many other micropumps under development or in commercial use, the new technology requires no batteries, said Ziaie, who is working with doctoral student Manuel Ochoa.
"This just needs yeast, sugar, water and your own body heat," Ziaie said.
Patches that used arrays of tiny microneedles could deliver a multitude of drugs, and the needles do not cause pain because they barely penetrate the skin, Ziaie said. The patches require a pump to push the drugs through the narrow needles, which have a diameter of about 20 microns, or roughly one-fourth as wide as a human hair.Most pumps proposed for drug-delivery applications rely on an on-board power source, which is bulky, costly and requires complex power-management circuits to conserve battery life.
ABSTRACTA fermentation-powered thermopneumatic pump for biomedical applications
Emil Venere | EurekAlert!
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