Developments to Watch
A PILL NOBODY CAN CHOKE ON--OR FORGET TO TAKE
Many people have trouble taking pills. They choke on them, forget them, or take too many. Now, a University of Dayton researcher, physiologist Praphulla K. Bajpai, has patented a long-term drug delivery system that could help. His capsules, made from calcium phosphate, will slowly disperse drugs in the body over a predetermined period of time. Most similar systems, such as those developed for steroids, are made of plastic that must be surgically removed. But Bajpai's capsules, which can be as small as half a centimeter to one centimeter long, are gradually broken down and absorbed into the body.
Bajpai has successfully implanted drug-containing capsules lasting 9 to 12 months under the skin of sheep and rats. Researchers see other potential uses for his ceramic capsules, such as slowly dispersing microbes to clean up oil spills or releasing chemicals such as chlorine into water.EDITED BY PAMELA J. BLACK