Welcome to the Age of the Wirelessly-Controlled Injection Replacement

Welcome to the Age of the Wirelessly-Controlled Injection Replacement. Local drug delivery hero Bob Langer is back in the headlines this week after one of his companies — Waltham-based MicroCHIPS — successfully pulled off the first-ever human study for an under-the-skin drug-releasing implant. The essence of the work is this: there are certain diseases that require regular injections as part of an effective therapy — osteoporosis is one of them; diabetes another. In theory, these chips can cut that painful self-injection routine out entirely by sitting under the skin (where a doctor would embed one) for months, quietly releasing regular doses of drug on command. They look like they’ve been pulled straight out of a computer, and they’re programmable like a computer chip, too. But they also appear to be safe so far, and so painless that the women on which the chips were tested quite often forgot they even had them. Don’t go asking your doctor for one yet though: there’s still a lot of research to be done, including more work to confirm the chips’ efficacy and durability, and, if possible, to hike up the doses a chip can handle, so that a single microchip could deliver a year’s worth of medicine. [Science Translational Medicine]