Massachusetts-based startup MicroCHIPS has created a contraceptive implant which can last up to 16 years and be wirelessly controlled.
Being able to be turned on and off via remote, this contraceptive implant won’t require women to have to go to a clinic for an outpatient procedure when they need to deactivate their birth control. Decided you want to have a baby? Use a remote to turn off the implant, and away you go.
Measuring 20mm squared, and only 7mm thick, the device is implanted under the skin of the upper arm, abdomen, or buttocks. Once implanted, it dispenses a number of drugs that are stored in a series of tiny reservoirs within the chip. These micro-reservoirs are sealed with a platinum and titanium membrane that melts temporarily when an electrical signal is applied (conveniently from an on-board battery), and are sealed again once the correct dosage of hormone has been released.
Designed to last 16 years, the implant allows a continuous dose of hormones to the user that can be stopped or started at any time. MicroCHIPS is currently sorting out some last details (such as encrypting the chip’s wireless signal), and plan on filing an application with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration soon. They hope to start pre-clinical test next year, and want the device on the market by 2018.
While birth control is obviously used for, well, birth control, the hormones have a number of other applications. Women often take them for acne, PMS, and endometriosis relief, and no doubt the chip will be a benefit to those who aren’t just seeking a birth control solution. If successful, various hormone therapies used for cancer treatments could be delivered via this chip, offering a convenient and safe solution for patients.
Though we’ll have to wait for 2018 to get these implants, MicroCHIPS seem to have developed a contraceptive that is easier, cheaper, and more convenient for patients.