A team of researchers have collaborated to develop and demonstrate an electronic implant that eradicated a staph infection in mice and then was harmlessly dissolved into the animal. The device is comprised of silk and magnesium that delivers heat to the infected tissue when activated by a remote wireless signal. Once the infection is eliminated, the device is designed to dissolve in minutes or weeks depending on how the silk protein was processed.
Traditional implantable medical devices use materials that are non-degradable that need to be removed or replace at a later date. “This is an important demonstration step forward for the development of on-demand medical devices that can be turned on remotely to perform a therapeutic function in a patient and then safely disappear after their use, requiring no retrieval,” said senior author Fiorenzo Omenetto, professor of biomedical engineering and Frank C. Doble professor at Tufts School of Engineering . The development of this new device could help physicians manage post-surgical infection and also make advancements in Wi-Fi drug delivery.