Product Spotlight

By: Jennifer Webster
Friday, January 1, 2016

Wearable Elastic Delivers Drug When Stretched

If a drug needs to be released transdermally over time, a drug-eluting elastic film may be the answer.

Developed by researchers at North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the drug-releasing elastics contain capsules filled with minute doses. When a wearer moves the elastic — by stretching the skin in activities such as walking or opening or closing a joint — the capsules are expanded and release the drugs.

In mice, the researchers performed successful applications with anticancer and antibacterial medications. They also experimented with tiny needles, enabling insulin to be introduced and glucose to be regulated in mice with Type 1 diabetes.

Medgadget sketched out one potential application. Arthritis patients might apply an elastic containing a topical pain reliever to a joint that becomes sore when moving, so that the motion provokes drug release and timely pain control.


SmartPill to Measure Gut Acidity

Glowing Gut 250Acidity in the stomach is related to numerous health conditions, such as ulcers and gastric reflux. In treating gastrointestinal problems, the gastric acid secretion test is frequently used to test the effectiveness of antacid medications or to determine whether reflux from the small intestine into the stomach is occurring.

However, this test is somewhat invasive, involving a tube inserted in the stomach to collect gastric fluids. A new option by Medtronic’s Given Imaging may make such testing a thing of the past.

The SmartPill, already in use to monitor stomach emptying in patients with gastroparesis, has now been upgraded to monitor and transmit pH levels at different points in the digestive tract. University of Chicago researchers determined it was possible to track gut pH by using two SmartPills swallowed two days in a row and monitoring them for about 24 hours.


Improved Imaging for Laparoscopic Surgery

Jiang Microcamera 250
Image courtesy of the Jiang group, UW-Madison College of Engineering

While tiny cameras inserted in the body are key to laparoscopic surgery, these instruments have drawbacks, including the need to make a separate incision. Additionally, according to the Journal of the Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons, bodily fluids and condensation may cloud camera lenses.

Scientists from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, are looking to solve laparoscopic camera concerns by using an array of cameras attached directly to a laparoscopic surgical instrument.

Once inside the body, the cameras separate out from the instrument so that each has a different point of view on the surgical site. By integrating the cameras’ perspectives on video, 3-D imaging may be achieved.

Additionally, the cameras would be well back from the instruments and less likely to be splattered, while using multiple cameras means clear lenses could compensate for a blurred lens.