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December 7th, 2007
Engineers build "smart" pills for drug delivery
Drug delivery methods have made great improvements in both ease of use and efficiency over the last several years. Slow-dissolving tablets, plastic coatings and now techniques that use nanotechnology have all allowed medicines to be delivered to specific tissues at specific doses and times.
These drug delivery methods range from oral pills to miniaturized targeted devices with control over the release of drugs. These tools serve as great aids in delivering drugs, spatially in providing high anatomic specificity, lower dosages and sustained doses with minimal fluctuations.
Recently, scientists have developed ways to improve these models to be "smart" systems that possess the ability to cater to each patients' needs. Such smart drug delivery systems could revolutionize the pharmaceutical industry, but to do so they must be ready for mass production. For example, they should be manufactured inexpensively, loaded easily with drugs, delivered with minimal trauma and be easily tracked, programmed and controlled.
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