Bioelectric Breakthrough China: Chinese scientists have achieved a significant breakthrough in the realm of bioelectronic implants with the creation of a biodegradable, wireless energy receiving and storage device. This innovative device has the potential to power bioelectronic implants, including fully biodegradable drug delivery systems.
Bioelectronic systems, such as monitoring sensors and drug delivery implants, offer minimally invasive and reliable methods for precise patient monitoring and treatment. However, the development of power modules for these devices has lagged behind the creation of biocompatible and biodegradable sensors and circuit units.
While there are existing biodegradable power supply units, they often have limitations. Many can only be used once, and their power generation may be insufficient for biomedical applications. Additionally, power supply units connected to transdermal chargers can cause inflammation, and those powered by non-rechargeable batteries may require surgical replacement, leading to potential complications.
To bridge this gap, researchers from Lanzhou University proposed a wireless implantable power system with “simultaneously high energy storage performance and favored tissue interfacing properties.” Its soft and flexible design allows it to adapt to the shape of tissues and organs.
The wireless power supply device comprises a magnesium coil that charges the device when an external transmitting coil is placed on the skin above the implant. The power received by the magnesium coil passes through a circuit before entering an energy storage module made up of zinc-ion hybrid supercapacitors.
Supercapacitors store power as electrical energy, offering high power density and the ability to consistently discharge a high amount of energy. The prototype power supply system, contained in a flexible biodegradable chip-like implant, integrates energy harvesting and energy storage into a single device.
The entire device is encapsulated in polymer and wax, allowing it to bend and twist according to the structure of the surrounding tissue. Tests in rats demonstrated the device’s effectiveness for up to 10 days, with complete dissolution within two months.
The biocompatible nature of zinc and magnesium, both essential elements in the human body, ensures that the dissolvable implants are safe. The researchers encapsulated the device in polymer and wax, making it flexible enough to conform to the surrounding tissue’s structure.
The successful implementation of this biodegradable wireless power system represents a crucial advancement in transient implantable bioelectronic devices. The potential for effective and reliable energy solutions opens new possibilities for localized, on-demand drug delivery and therapy, revolutionizing the field of medical implants.