Implantable drug delivery systems, or IDDS, have been proposed as a future solution to treat chronic conditions such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease.
Such technology has been limited, however, by the risk of an autoimmune reaction to such a foreign object in the patient’s body.
An intriguing possibility could be using artificial intelligence to manipulate the device in such a way as to avoid buildup of scar tissue and avoid a dangerous bodily response, some researchers suggest.
The AI research was conducted by scientists at the University of Galway and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The researchers call such flexible devices “soft robotics” and state that the technology could allow for such objects to disseminate medication or treatment within a patient for a long time.
“Imagine a therapeutic implant that can also sense its environment and respond as needed using AI,” co-lead author Rachel Beatty, PhD, said in a statement. ”This approach could generate revolutionary changes in implantable drug delivery for a range of chronic diseases.”
For example, the device would work by inflating or deflating itself as it detects how the body is responding, a process the researchers call “mechanotherapy.”
Although IDDS has been around for decades, new innovations in materials and tech like AI have made it an increasingly intriguing subject for researchers.
“IDDS is especially important considering that due to the increase in life expectancy and changes in societal behavior are contributing to the increase in chronic conditions and long-term health problems,” authors of a separate study on drug delivery devices said.
Although that study, published in Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews last month, cited Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and cardiovascular disease as targets of IDDS tech, the Galway/MIT researchers noted that their AI-enhanced IDDS also could be used to help treat diabetes, another major concern for seniors.