Insulin Nanopump for Accurate Drug Delivery

The Swiss Company Debiotech has developed a tiny insulin pump to deliver accurate drug quantities over a long time. The pump, 65 millimeters in size, sucks the drug from a container and injects it to the body. The device is a membrane based pump, which injects a constant amount of liquid on every beat. Due to its low manufacturing costs the pump can be used as a disposable drug delivery system or for long term treatment.

The SOI technology which made this pump so tiny (CREDIT: Debiotech S.A.)
The SOI technology which made this
pump so tiny (Credit: Debiotech S.A.)

Although not nano scaled, the nanopump is a tiny machine with a high accuracy and reliability. According to Debiotech, it can work for a long period in altering conditions such as changing pressure and temperature and still deliver the same amount of drug per time unit. Silicon On Insulator (SOI) technology, introduced by IBM about 10 years ago, was used to develop the nanopump.

Similarly to computer chips, which are made today using SOI technology, in order to achieve better performance in a smaller footprint, Debiotech used SOI to create a small and more accurate nanopump. The SOI layer is located between two Pyrex cover plates that define the volume of the pump. The SOI layer shrinks and grows when electrical currents run between the two plates, making the pumping volume constant each time.

The nanopump is a powerful device and has many possible applications in the medical field. The first application of the pump, introduced by Debiotech, is Insulin delivery. The pump injects Insulin to the patient’s body in a constant rate, balancing the amount of sugars in his or her blood. The pump can also administer small drug doses over a long period of time.

TFOT has recently reported on some other methods for precise drug delivery such as micro origami shaped packages, covered in this story. Another drug delivery concept covered by TFOT is using tiny, non invasive needles.

More information on the insulin nanopump can be found on Debiotech’s S.A. website.

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