The National Research Foundation of Korea said on June 6 that Professor Choi Young-bin at Seoul National University and Professor Choi Jin-ho at Dankook University have jointly developed a biotransplantation device that injects drugs through near-infrared waves without using a needle. Near-infrared waves are a near-visible type of infrared and are widely used in industrial and medical fields.
Repeated subcutaneous injections usually performed more than one or two times cause pain and economic burden on the patient. One example is the continuous prescription of growth hormone injection for patients with growth hormone deficiency-induced idiopathic short stature.
To solve this problem, the researchers developed a device that releases a dose of a drug at a time from sealed drug reservoirs implanted in the skin with selectivity to near-infrared radiation.
The device is implanted in the body, and it works upon external application of near-infrared waves to the skin. Near-infrared waves selectively rupture the membrane of the drug reservoir in the body and release a certain amount of drug (such as growth hormone) in the body.
The core technology in this study is the membrane that ruptures when exposed to near- infrared radiation. It is made of graphene-based nanoparticles that generate heat when exposed to near-infrared waves and special polymers that rupture by sensing heat generated.
The results were published on May 23 in international scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS).