A method of activating electronic implants within the body and eliminating bacterial infections has been developed by researchers.
The gadget delivers heat to the tissue that has been infected, as soon as it is triggered by remote technology.
This could result in technologies enabling the deliverance of treatment and drugs to patients, simply by pressing a button.
The technology has been developed by researchers based at the University of Illinois and Tufts University, Massachusetts.
Researchers placed electronic implants into mice. The devices would heat up to commence treatment on tissues that had been infected with staphylococcus (staph) as soon as a signal was transmitted. Staff may cause skin abscesses or fatal blood infections.
Researchers found no trace of the infection when they collected tissues from the mice 24 hours after the treatment process. The device, made of magnesium and silk, harmlessly dissolved within 15 days, proving that not only is it possible to treat infections in this manner, but the device can be disposed of quite easily.
The research was also successful in eliminating E.coli bacteria.
The heating device within the implant has a power-receiving coil and resistor made of magnesium, which is wrapped in silk, allowing it to be kept safe and controlling the dissolving time.
The dissolving aspect is very important as it eliminates the need for the implants to be removed. Medical devices that are implanted are normally made of non-degradable materials, with limited lifespans, and have to be replaced or removed at some point, but the new wireless therapy devices are able to handle the surgical process and will dissolve in weeks or minutes, depending on the time required.
Professor of biomedical engineering at Tufts School of Engineering and the senior author of the study, Fiorenzo Omenetto, said this was an important move forward in the development of on-demand medical devices which can be activated remotely, perform a treatment function and then dissolve without the need for retrieval.
He said this strategy could aid in the management of post-surgical infection or open the door to Wi-Fi drug delivery.
Image Credit: Manuel Iglesias