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UI Researchers Working on ‘Microchip Pharmacies'

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IOWA CITY, Iowa — The way people take medication could be changing in the future.

For more than eight years researchers at the University of Iowa have been working on microchips that’ll do it for you.

They’re only a few millimeters in size, small enough to be implanted under the skin.

Chips have tiny wells filled with drugs. They’re sealed with a polymer that dissolves, automatically releasing drugs inside the body on a schedule.

Scientists said because wells are so small, the medicines in them need to be especially potent. That means some medications are out.

But researchers think the chips would be great for cancer treatment.

“You could potentially give a chemo therapeutic followed by an immune modulating agent that helps to stimulate the immune response against the cancer,” said Professor Aliasger Salem at the University of Iowa’s Division of Pharmaceutics.

Once a chip is empty, it will dissolve in the body.

Scientists have started animal trials. They estimated it’ll be a few years until chips are ready for people.

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