Edible Electronic Circuits Could be a Medical Revolution in the Waiting - iCrowdNewswire
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Apr 16, 2018 7:25 AM ET

Edible Electronic Circuits Could be a Medical Revolution in the Waiting

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iCrowdNewswire - Apr 16, 2018


FN Media Group Presents USA News Group News Commentary 


In the push to provide better and more effective medical delivery and diagnostics, a group of scientists say they have developed edible circuit boards that can be used to create electronic tags that can be monitored as they travel through the body.

Leading companies advancing the development of diagnostics and medical approaches in novel drug delivery include Boston Scientific Corp. (NYSE: BSX), Baxter International, Inc. (NYSE: BAX), Becton, Dickinson and Co. (NYSE: BDX), and Aequus Pharmaceuticals (OTC: AQSZF) (TSX.V: AQS).

Pharmaceutical companies looking to innovate in this field are seeing major breakthroughs with real world applications. Analysts and peers continue to laud this area as a new, and viable means to create major applications in the pharma field and patient care.

One smaller company is already using novel delivery to bring innovation to the marketplace. Aequus Pharmaceuticals (OTC: AQSZF) (TSX.V: AQS ) is a junior company advancing delivery and a product pipeline with two significant partnerships; Supernus Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: SUPN), for the in-license Canadian rights to Supernus’s two epilepsy medicines, Topiramate XR, and Oxcarbazepine, and a separate deal with Corium International (NASDAQ:  CORI).

Companies on a path of positive momentum in the sector despite challenges in the US healthcare system include Axsome Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: AXSM), which develops therapies for the management of central nervous system (CNS) disorders; Baxter International, Inc. (NYSE: BAX), which makes medical equipment like dialysis machines and infusion systems; along with Becton, Dickinson and Co. (NYSE: BDX), maker of supplies like needles, syringes and catheters.


While conventional drug delivery systems like pills and injections look destined to be around for ages to come, scientists are actively developing sophisticated systems to work around the inefficiencies of these traditional systems.

These new systems mainly involve techniques that can deposit the therapeutic agent at the exact location of the disease inside the body. Many of them are based on binding or encapsulating the drug with liposomes and other nanoparticles that dissolve and disperse selectively inside the body. An even more interesting idea involves the introduction of electric circuits into the body, which can monitor various aspects of health.

A group of scientists from ItalySouth Korea and Japan say they have developed edible circuit boards – a kind of “digital tattoo” – that can be used to create electronic tags that can be monitored as they travel through the body.

The circuits can be transferred using foods such as fruits, as well as drug capsules.

Ingestible electronic devices could have a variety of applications in medical treatment and point-of-care testing. They could be used to make diagnosis, control the rate of drug release and act as remote health data collection points for health professionals.

Additionally, the technology can be used in the food industry to track and monitor food through the supply chain.

While the idea of ingestible electronic circuits is not new, most of the solutions that have been proposed so far are large and expensive. Many of these use silicon based electronics and are swallowed as pills with bulky electronics. After the pill has performed its function of deploying the circuit, it has to be evacuated from the body.

The current solution takes advantage of a process used to create temporary tattoos.

Mario Carioni, a professor at the Polytechnic University of Milan says that tattoo paper offers a more functional approach, since it is made out of ethyl cellulose, a common medical and edible material that can be printed on with ease.

When creating temporary tattoos, the design is printed on to a thin film of ethyl cellulose and stuck to a paper with water-soluble starch. The paper is then soaked in water, stuck to the skin allowing the starch to dissolve, and the paper is peeled leaving the design on the skin.

In order to test their idea, the team used an electric circuit printer to print circuits made of silver and four semiconductor polymers on tattoo paper before transferring them to drug capsules, strawberries and glass microscope slides.

By adjusting various parameters such as choice of polymers, transistors and logic gates the researchers found that the functionality of the circuits could be varied considerably in order to create more stable circuits.


Another course for delivery methods is also shining bright: Aequus Pharmaceuticals is one of the companies forwarding a more practical technology for transdermal delivery systems.

By utilizing a patch, patients can have higher confidence in their dosages, especially with drugs that require multiple dose times during the day. A patient tied to the clock, over and over during the day, is much more susceptible to missing a dosage, and likely reducing the effectiveness of their medicine.

Among the eight ongoing product programs in Aequus’s portfolio, four utilize a transdermal delivery system: AQS1301 (Transdermal Aripiprazole); AQS1302 (Transdermal Clobazam); AQS1303 (Transdermal Pyridoxine/Doxylamine); and AQS1304 (Transdermal Medical Cannabis).

In the case of AQS1303, the transdermal form aims to replace a medication that is normally taken orally-up to four times a day.

Both AQS1301 and AQS1302 could be very important to their patients, as they both deal with neurological disorders that depend heavily on dosage consistency (schizophrenia, bipolar, depression, and epilepsy).


Medical researchers see great potential for this approach alongside other novel drug delivery systems, including the delivery of antibiotics. One of the keys is eliminating patient error to help to reduce adverse effects of poor dosage adherence. These include things such as drug resistance and lowered effectiveness of the drug.

They do warn however that there is an important issue relating to biocompatibility, particularly with regards to silver, which in high dietary concentrations is considered a poison.

At the moment, the circuit technology is still at very early stages of development, and the researchers assert that much more research will be needed before the circuits can even be tested in humans. As envisioned, edible electronics will certainly be one of biggest medical breakthroughs of the century.

The leaders in the pharmaceutical field are moving quickly to adopt a myriad of effective new measures, and others like Aequus Pharmaceuticals, are already adding important contributions, like their treatments for Central Nervous System disorders -a market in need of continued innovation.


Axsome Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: AXSM)

Axsome develops therapies for the management of central nervous system (CNS) disorders. The company’s product candidates include AXS-05 that is in Phase III trial for the treatment of treatment resistant depression and Alzheimer’s disease agitation; and AXS-02, which is in Phase III trial to treat complex regional pain syndrome, knee osteoarthritis related to bone marrow lesions, and chronic low back pain related to Modic changes. It is also developing AXS-06, a preclinical product candidate for CNS disorders, including chronic pain.

Baxter International, Inc. (NYSE: BAX)

Baxter International Inc. provides a portfolio of renal and hospital products. The company operates through two segments, Hospital Products and Renal. The Hospital Products segment manufactures intravenous (IV) solutions and administration sets, premixed drugs and drug-reconstitution systems, pre-filled vials and syringes for injectable drugs, IV nutrition products, parenteral nutrition therapies, infusion pumps, inhalation anesthetics, and biosurgery products. This segment also provides products and services related to pharmacy compounding, drug formulation, and packaging technologies. The Renal segment provides products to treat end-stage renal disease, irreversible kidney failure, and acute kidney therapies. The company sells its products for use in hospitals, kidney dialysis centers, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, doctors’ offices, and by patients at home under physician supervision.

Becton, Dickinson and Co. (NYSE: BDX)

Becton, Dickinson and Company develops, manufactures, and sells medical supplies, devices, laboratory equipment, and diagnostic products worldwide. It operates in two segments, BD Medical and BD Life Sciences. The company markets its products through independent distribution channels and sales representatives to healthcare institutions, life science researchers, clinical laboratories, pharmaceutical industry, and general public. It has a strategic collaboration with FlowJo, LLC. Becton, Dickinson and Company was founded in 1897 and is headquartered in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey.

For a more in-depth look into AQS you can view the in-depth report at USA News Group: http://usanewsgroup.com/2018/02/15/the-biggest-biotech-trends-analysts-are-talking-about/


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