A remotely operated drug delivery system with an electrolytic pump and a thermo-responsive valve

Ying Yi, Amir Zaher, Omar Yassine, Jürgen Kosel, Ian G. Foulds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Implantable drug delivery devices are becoming attractive due to their abilities of targeted and controlled dose release. Currently, two important issues are functional lifetime and non-controlled drug diffusion. In this work, we present a drug delivery device combining an electrolytic pump and a thermo-responsive valve, which are both remotely controlled by an electromagnetic field (40.5 mT and 450 kHz). Our proposed device exhibits a novel operation mechanism for long-term therapeutic treatments using a solid drug in reservoir approach. Our device also prevents undesired drug liquid diffusions. When the electromagnetic field is on, the electrolysis-induced bubble drives the drug liquid towards the Poly (N-Isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAM) valve that consists of PNIPAM and iron micro-particles. The heat generated by the iron micro-particles causes the PNIPAM to shrink, resulting in an open valve. When the electromagnetic field is turned off, the PNIPAM starts to swell. In the meantime, the bubbles are catalytically recombined into water, reducing the pressure inside the pumping chamber, which leads to the refilling of the fresh liquid from outside the device. A catalytic reformer is included, allowing more liquid refilling during the limited valve's closing time. The amount of body liquid that refills the drug reservoir can further dissolve the solid drug, forming a reproducible drug solution for the next dose. By repeatedly turning on and off the electromagnetic field, the drug dose can be cyclically released, and the exit port of the device is effectively controlled.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)052608
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 22 2015

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KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01


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