Adjustable plastic in medicine
A new adjustable plastic that dissolves itself inside the body can bring new advantages to medicine
A new biodegradable plastic has been developed by a team of researchers in Helsinki University of Technology. The qualities of this new material can be adjusted so that it can be of use in many different needs. The qualities of the plastic can be of great help for instance, in medicine dosage or as a support structure when growing new tissue. The speed of decomposition of the material can be adjusted from several days to all the way to one year.
One interesting feature of adjustable plastic is that the implant made of this material containing medication can be transported to exactly where it is needed. This quality could be very beneficial in for instance cancer treatment where an implant made of adjustable plastic could be planted right next to a tumour. Implant would then release the desired amount of medicine right to the target (rather than spreading the medicine evenly to the body as is the case with traditional way of rationing medicine). After the implant has delivered the necessary amount of medicine, it dissolves. This new way of dosing the medicine could substantially alleviate harmful side affects of cancer treatments as well as reducing need for surgical operations.
For clinical use the new material will likely be available by 2015.
Raili Leino, Tekniikka&Talous 27.1.2009 http://www.tekniikkatalous.fi/tk/article208059.ece
Opportunity: Imporved quality of many demanding treatments
Every new invention, especially when pharmaceutical industry is in question, is costly. In this case it is a theme for discussion. For example for breast cancer treatment in young patients the treatment consists of mastectomy, reconstruction surgery, 6 times chemotherapy, 25 times radiotherapy and in some cases 5 years of estrogen repression therapy. The cost of one chemotherapy session in Finland is about 800 euro only for the medicine. The effects on the environment are of another yet not fully understood problem.