Purdue researchers have created a tiny pump entirely powered by fermentation. The discovery may one day be used to power transdermal drug patches that can deliver drugs and medication from an internal reservoir in a controlled way.
The pump's reservoir houses a mixture of sugar and yeast, which when combined with a trace amount of water, and when slightly heated by the patient's own body, generate carbon dioxide. The build up of CO2 creates pressure within, and this provides energy for a squeezing a drug sack positions on top of the fermentation chamber.
The "microorganism-powered thermopneumatic pump" is constructed of layers of a rubber-like
polymer, called polydimethylsiloxane, which is manufactured commercially for diaphragms in pumps. The prototype measures 1.5 centimeters long.
Current "transdermal" patches are limited and can only deliver drugs, (like nicotine) and utilize small hydophobic molecules that can be absorbed through the skin.
"Many drugs, including those for treating cancer and autoimmune disorders cannot be delivered with patches because they are large molecules that won't go through the skin," says Babak Ziaie, Purdue professor of electrical and computer engineering and biomedical engineering. "Although transdermal drug delivery via microneedle arrays has long been identified as a viable and promising method for delivering large hydrophilic molecules across the skin, a suitable pump has been hard to develop."
The researchers believe that further development of the drug patches can get to a level that, once the medications inside are exhausted, can be peeled open to reveal a sip of freshly made beer. Compliance with medication regimens may skyrocket.
We're fantasizing about drug patches that, once exhausted of the meds inside, can be peeled open to reveal a sip of freshly made beer. Surely compliance with medication regimens will skyrocket.
For more information and diagrams, visit the links here (http://medgadget.com/2012/09/fermentation-powered-drug-delivery-patches-for-battery-free-delivery-of-meds.html) and here (http://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2012/lc/c2lc40620a).