cbsnews.com (September 27, 2012) — As consumers we want our electronic gadgets to be durable. But as patients, we might want them to dissolve - inside our bodies.
Scientists reported Thursday that they succeeded in creating tiny medical devices sealed in silk cocoons that did the work they were designed for, then dissolved in the bodies of lab mice. It's an early step in a technology that may hold promise, not only for medicine, but also for disposal of electronic waste.
The new work is "a remarkable achievement" in combining materials to produce a working device, said Christopher Bettinger of Carnegie Mellon University. He works on biodegradable electronics but was not involved in the study.
Doctors already use implants that dispense drugs or provide electrical stimulation, but they don't dissolve. The new work is aimed at making devices that do their jobs as long as needed and then just dissolved, without need for surgical removal or risk of long-term side effects.