She’s Electric: Or Is It Just Her Pills?

How a new material will transform biomedicines and drug implants

A group of researchers from Chalmers University recently made a material breakthrough presenting a new opportunity in the development of biomedicines. Biomedicines are created from live cells and are used, among other things, to treat cancer and autoimmune diseases. 

Around the world, access to biomedicines is limited due to the high cost of producing them. A new material could change that by making it easier to produce biomedicines. It could also open the gates to new ways of delivering biomedicines such as electronic pills and drug implants. 

The new material is a polymer surface that can be used in a variety of ways. For example, it can help separate drugs from biomolecules in a new way by using an electrical pulse. Separation techniques are used to retrieve biomedicines created from biomolecules. Instead of using strong chemicals, the polymer surface material provides a more effective way to separate biomolecules. 

The polymer surface material also works in biological fluids and has the ability to withstand pH shifts in the body. Researchers note this characteristic is significant because it facilitates a novel method for drug implants and electronic pills. Simply put, the pills would activate electronically and release the medication into the body. 

Here’s how it works: “Imagine a doctor, or a computer program, measuring the need for a new dose of medicine in a patient, and a remote-controlled signal activating the release of the drug from the implant located in the very tissue or organ where it’s needed,” said Gustav Ferrand-Drake del Castillo, whose research is revealing the potential of this new material. Other advantages include sustainability, since the new material’s surfaces may be reused hundreds of times without the surface changing. 

The findings of the Chalmers researchers have been applied to product development by the spinoff company Nyctea Technologies over the last year. Read more


At ASG, innovation is a part of how we work. Learn more