A new concept for an on-demand curedelivery system has emerged in which cures are automatically released from medical devices in vivo simply by shining light on the skin.
A research team led by Professor Sei Kwang Han and Professor Kilwon Cho has jointly developed a targeted cure delivery system (DDS) using organic photovoltaic cells with conversion-enhancing nanoparticles (UCNPs). Basically, they convert skin-penetrating near infrared (NIR) light into visible light. This makes it possible to control the release of the cure in medical devices embedded in the human body. The research results are published in the journal Nano Energy.
For patients who require intermittent injections of medication, such as diabetes, DDS systems are being researched and developed. The system of targeted cure delivery is a method of drug delivery to the focus of the disease, which allows increasing the concentration of the delivered substance in the right place and blocking its accumulation in healthy organs and tissues. In this case, you can increase the duration and effectiveness of the action, reduce side effects. However, the size and shape of such systems are limited due to the power supply for such a device.
The research team solved the problem by focusing on solar energy. They used upconversion nanoparticles to trigger the production of photovoltaic energy using near-infrared light (which can penetrate the skin). An organic photovoltaic cell generates an electrical current when irradiated with near infrared light. The thin gold film covering the cure reservoir melts and the substance is released.
Ultimately, the combination of a flexible photovoltaic cell and a cure delivery system allows drugs to be released on demand using light. The cure delivery system is activated by near infrared light, which is harmless to the human body and penetrates well through the skin. Scientists are confident that their work will contribute to the development of phototherapy technology using implantable medical devices.