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Embedded chips may do away with injections

An embedded microchip in your body could do away with the need for injections, especially for those who need regular jabs for treatment of ailments like osteoporosis and multiple sclerosis.

The embedded chip operates automatically or when a signal is sent wirelessly from a computer. Reuters

Scientists have conducted the first human trial of an implantable microchip-based drug delivery device which can release precise doses of a drug when commanded wirelessly and sends messages confirming delivery, the New York Times said.

The chip can be programmed to release the drugs on a schedule or activated by an operator using a computer. The microchip uses the same frequency that all medical electronics use for communication.

Before you worry about surgical scars, researchers said the entire implant is about two and a quarter inches long and one and a half inches wide.

To insert the implant the doctors injected the patients with a local anesthetic, made a one-inch incision slightly below the navel to create a pocket into which the device was fitted.

After waiting eight weeks to let the device become stable in the body's tissue, the researchers released doses of a drug used to treat osteoporosis either automatically or in the presence of doctors.

Blood tests showed that the drug dispensed by microchip were as effective as ordinary injections and the individual doses were slightly more consistent in quantity and effect than daily shots. And there were no serious side effects.

However, it will take some time before these devices find their way into the market. The company that makes the chips plans to file for regulatory approval only in 2014 and then would need a minimum of two years of clinical trials.