February 22, 2007 -- False Tooth Serves As New Drug Delivery System
Have you ever forgotten to take the right amount of medicine? It can be a big problem, especially for patients with chronic conditions. Now, researchers in Germany have invented an automatic drug delivery system that will give you your medicine—from inside a false tooth. There's a little reservoir filled with the drug in solid, concentrated form. Then there's a membrane that lets saliva in. That dissolves part of the drug, which then flows out.
Two miniature sensors check the flow of saliva in, and of medicine out. They’re connected to a little circuit that opens or closes a valve to control the dosage. And what about refills? The little tooth-pharmacies get swapped out every few weeks, when the battery - of course there's a battery - can also be replaced. If something goes wrong in between visits, the tooth fairy system alerts the patient via a wireless signal, which could presumably send the message via email, to your cellphone, even to an iPod. The tooth device will be presented at a tech fair later this month, and, smile, clinical trials start this year.