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The wearable patch, called the Spatiotemporal On-Demand Patch (SOP), can receive commands wirelessly from a smartphone or computer to schedule and trigger the release of drugs from individual microneedles.

Juan Song, PhD, Professor of Pharmacology
Juan Song, PhD, Professor of Pharmacology and member of UNC Neuroscience Center

This research, published in Nature Communications, opens the door to on-demand treatments for neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease.

Lead authors on the paper are Juan Song, PhD, Professor of Pharmacology and member of the UNC Neuroscience Center, and Bai Wubin, Assistant Professor of Applied Physics, at UNC.

“SOP’s ability to enable joint delivery of multiple drugs could address various aspects of Alzheimer’s Disease, such as reducing beta-amyloid plaques, mitigating neuroinflammation and enhancing cognitive function,” said Bai, a co-senior author.

“The beauty of this device is that it can house dozens, if not hundreds, of concentrated drugs and can program their sequential release automatically,” said Song, who is a member of the UNC Neuroscience Center. “Rapid drug release can be crucial in emergency situations or when immediate therapeutic action is required.”

The Nature Communications article being highlighted was published January 13, 2024.

Wang, Y., Chen, Z., Davis, B. et al. Digital automation of transdermal drug delivery with high spatiotemporal resolution. Nat Commun 15, 511 (2024).

~The above quotes and are excerpts from the full article, “Wireless Drug Patch Shows Promise as Chronic Disease Treatment Delivery System,” by David DeFusco, published in UNC Health News January 17, 2024. 

UPDATE! ~2/20/24

Dr. Juan Song and Dr. Wubin Bai were featured on CBS news for their work on a wireless drug patch that could be used to treat Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative disorders. They are are currently testing on mice, with hopes to start human trials in 5- 8 years.