News Feature | April 2, 2014

Researchers Develop Wearable Smart Patch For Administering Drugs

By Marcus Johnson

South Korean researchers at Seoul National University are working to develop a wearable smart patch which will be able to detect diseases and administer drugs on its own. The researchers believe that the smart patch will be able to eliminate some of the risks of taking pharmaceutical products, such as accidentally taking a large dose than prescribed, or forgetting to take the medication altogether. The researchers, who recently published their study in Nature Nanotechnology, have developed the smart patch to be responsive, which means it will monitor the vitals of the patient that wears it. The smart patch will be able to release drugs continuously, without the patient's need to constantly monitor their dosage. The patch can also determine when a patient doesn't need another dose released. The smart patch developed by the researchers is 2 inches long and is made of stretchable nanomaterials. The researchers believe that the smart patch could be used by patients with Parkinson's disease, administering a drug when the patch detects tremors.

According to Dae-Hyeong Kim, the study’s co-author, “People are very interested in continuous and controlled drug delivery. In the future, wireless components should be integrated and then this system will be connected to wireless networks.”

Kim has stated that connection to wireless networks will allow doctors to continually monitor their patients' vitals and drug dosage from afar. It could also allow for easier diagnostics for developing illnesses and diseases. Kim has estimated that the patch won't be on the market for at least another five years, as there is still much research to be completed.