This new extended-release device has less risk of breaking or causing intestinal blockage than previous prototypes.Image: MIT

This new extended-release device has less risk of breaking or causing intestinal blockage than previous prototypes.
Image: MIT

Researchers and engineers in all corners of science have been looking at the ways their specific technical interest area can affect medicine and health care. Whether it be implantable microchip-based devices that could outpace injections and conventional pills or jet-propelled micromotors that can swim through the body to take tissue samples and make small surgical repairs, researchers have been seeing the interdisciplinary nature of science and how it could impact quality of life.

A team of researchers from MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research have teamed up with Massachusetts General Hospital to develop the latest scientific advancement in health care in the form of a polymer gel that will allow for ultra-long drug delivery.

The prototype that the team has built is essentially a ring-shaped device that can be folded into a capsule. Once the patient has ingested the capsule, the device can expand back to its original form and deliver drugs over a number of days, weeks, or potentially months.

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Teaching Polymers with Pasta (Video)

A bowl of "anelloni," consisting of ring-shaped pasta made from linguine.Credit: David Michieletto

A bowl of “anelloni,” consisting of ring-shaped pasta made from linguine.
Credit: David Michieletto

If the complexities of polymer physics elude you, the scientists from the University of Warwick may have a way to more clearly explain this premise.

Davide Michieletto and Matthew S. Turner have taken to the kitchen in an effort to more clearly explain polymer complexities. In order to do this, the two physicists have created a new type of pasta called the “anelloni.”

The “annoloni” – which is the Italian word for “ring” – works as a sort of analogy to explain the complicated shapes that ring-shaped polymers can adopt.

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