Medication 'Robot' Fits Inside Tooth

IntelliDrug is an IST Program project to develop a device for controlled drug delivery that is the size of a tooth (it may be as large as several molars). The IntelliDrug device would be implanted in the mouth of a patient, where it could provide regular, measured doses of medication.

The IntelliDrug micro-system will consist of the following elements:

  • a medication release mechanism
  • built-in microprocessor for decision-making and dosage program
  • micro-sensors capable of determining concentration of selected medications in the blood stream.
  • micro-actuators to release standard quantities of medication
  • a reservoir for selected medications
  • Full dentition (chewing surface) maintained.
The IntelliDrug device will work with a remote control to inform the patient and physician if the drug container needs to be refilled. The medication from the device can either enter the oral cavity and mix with saliva to be swallowed by the patient, or can be administered directly into the patient's bloodstream via the "root" of the tooth.

The IntelliDrug system reminds me of the gas-dispensing tooth from Frank Herbert's 1965 novel Dune. The situation in the novel is complicated; suffice it to say that Dr. Yueh has prepared a means of dispensing a poison gas from an exact duplicate of a tooth.

That peg tooth I put in your mouth after the tumble at Narcal--that tooth must be replaced, in a moment, I'll render you unconscious and replace that tooth." He opened his hand, stared at something in it. "An exact duplicate, its core shaped most exquisitely like a nerve. It'll escape the usual detectors, even a fast scanning. But if you bite down hard on it, the cover crushes.
(Read more about the dispensing tooth)

Not quite the same, since Herbert's idea is obviously for a single-use sytem. But it's still a drug-dispensing tooth.

Take a look at these other medical inventions with a science fiction connection:

Read more about the Tooth implant 'to release drugs'; see also the IntelliDrug website. Thanks to Zac Hunter for suggesting this story.

(This Science Fiction in the News story used with permission from Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction.)