WASHINGTON, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- An under-the-skin microchip device releasing drugs could someday be a substitute for daily injections, U.S. researchers who tested a device on eight women said.
The device, implanted under the skin of postmenopausal women with osteoporosis, wirelessly released doses of medicine to improve bone mineral density once a day for 20 days, said a study published in the American Association for the Advancement of Science's Science Translational Medicine.
Tests showed the daily releases from the device increased bone formation without any toxic or negative consequences, the study said.
The women said the implant did not diminish their quality of life.
"These data validate the microchip approach to multiyear drug delivery without the need for frequent injections, which can improve the management of many chronic diseases like osteoporosis, where adherence to therapy is a significant problem," said study author Robert Farra, president of MicroChips Inc., which developed the device.
Patients using this treatment "are freed from the daily reminder, or burden, of disease by eliminating the need for regular injections," MicroChips co-founder and Massachusetts Institute of Technology chemical engineer and surgery Professor Robert Langer said.
"Patient compliance is a big issue, especially when we are asking patients to give themselves daily injections of a drug," MIT engineering Professor Dr. Michael J. Cima, one of the idea's developers, told health information services Web site WebMD.
"This could take patient compliance out of the equation," he said.
The microchip drug-delivery device advances technology used with implantable medical devices such as pacemakers and pain pumps.