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Harvard Develops Drug-Filled, Injectable Sponge That Expands Inside the Body

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the uncredited-author-j-ignatowski dept.

Medicine 24

An anonymous reader writes "Harvard bioengineers have perfected injecting us with a drug-filled sponge instead of just a liquid. It may seem strange to want to inject a piece of sponge into your body, but it does actually help solve a number of invasive problems. For example, sometimes it is necessary to have drugs released slowly into our bodies, and/or some kind of bio-scaffold is required to be positioned so that it can help support a damaged organ or to engineer new tissue. This new, injectable sponge is incredibly useful because not only can it be filled with drugs that then are slowly released, it also has a memory and can be collapsed down to a tiny fraction of its original size."

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24 comments

I guess doctors will have to decide... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42041087)

if the patient is "sponge-worthy"

Re:I guess doctors will have to decide... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42041715)

This got a score 1 either because moderators haven't entered this thread yet, or are not fans of Seinfeld and don't get the reference.

Best post I've read all day, laughed out loud. Mod up if you've got points!

I was going to make a joke about Sponge Bob Drug Mule, but couldn't quite figure out how to make it funny. Maybe if I could draw, and could do SB as a drug mule, nervously getting squirted out of a syringe... but alas I cannot draw well.

Re:I guess doctors will have to decide... (1)

JustOK (667959) | about a year and a half ago | (#42041745)

Sponge Bob, drop your pants.

Mod parent funny! (1)

JoshDM (741866) | about a year and a half ago | (#42041785)

He double-dipped the chip!

Re:Mod parent funny! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42043475)

"You went in the shower?"
        "Yeah, so what? I'm not the only one!"
"Do you go in the shower?"
        "No, never."
"Do you?"
        "I take baths. Why couldn't you just wait?"
"I was there. I saw a drain."
        "Since when is a drain a toilet?"
"It's all pipes. What's the difference?"

Re:I guess doctors will have to decide... (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | about a year and a half ago | (#42042149)

if the patient is "sponge-worthy"

For taking off those rounded corners.

Saggy Bums? (2)

the monolith (1174927) | about a year and a half ago | (#42041279)

So, in a few years time when my body slumps a little more and my ass is hanging down, I can get a 'Sponge Bob' job down the back and another complementary do-hickey up front? This is strangely appealing on several levels. I can see the cost benefit analysis, and why wait for the future; do they need human test subjects?

Re:Saggy Bums? (1)

somersault (912633) | about a year and a half ago | (#42041683)

As long as it results in square pants, I fully support your sponge bobbing.

I have a mattress (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42041349)

At home. I sleep on a mattress that sounds awfully familiar to this... never thought my bedding might be on my insides.

John McAfee (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42041379)

Great! Now John McAfee can use this instead of his fingers to shove bath salts up his cornhole.

John McAfee offers himself for human testing (1)

fuzywombat (2777977) | about a year and a half ago | (#42041809)

Giving McAfee a new way to take his bath salts....

Something about this sounds odd... (2)

dav1dc (2662425) | about a year and a half ago | (#42041925)

Aren't expanding bits inside the body getting stuck in the wrong places how heart attacks and strokes happen ?? ...

Re:Something about this sounds odd... (2)

DaemonDan (2773445) | about a year and a half ago | (#42041993)

If they inject this into the blood stream, definitely. But they're probably putting it into connective tissue, so that the drug can diffuse into the blood while the sponge stays and degrades.

Re:Something about this sounds odd... (2)

Opyros (1153335) | about a year and a half ago | (#42042801)

The original press release [harvard.edu] (linked in TFA) says the following:

"The simplest application is when you want bulking," Mooney explains. "If you want to introduce some material into the body to replace tissue that's been lost or that is deficient, this would be ideal. In other situations, you could use it to transplant stem cells if you're trying to promote tissue regeneration, or you might want to transplant immune cells, if you're looking at immunotherapy."
Consisting primarily of alginate, a seaweed-based jelly, the injectable sponge contains networks of large pores, which allow liquids and large molecules to easily flow through it. Mooney and his research team demonstrated that live cells can be attached to the walls of this network and delivered intact along with the sponge, through a small-bore needle. Mooney's team also demonstrated that the sponge can hold large and small proteins and drugs within the alginate jelly itself, which are gradually released as the biocompatible matrix starts to break down inside the body.

Re:Something about this sounds odd... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42042169)

Yes, this would be very dangerous in the wrong places too.

So is a metal pin used to hold together bones, or a bit of surgical staple.

Or a clamp some surgeon uses to stop you from bleeding out.

The key is putting them in the right places.

Ah heck, my word check is knocker, and I didn't mention breast implants.

Drug-filled Injectable Sponge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42042083)

Sounds like the Twinkie. Or at least, the Ex-Twinkie, given news nowadays.

Also covers the 'expands body' thing, as well.

Oh the irony... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42042289)

...and science finally finds a purpose for the twinky...

Commercial Ring Tone (5, Funny)

Thakandar2 (260848) | about a year and a half ago | (#42042491)

Who lives in a cavity under the skin?
MED-ICAL SPON-GES!
Giving antibiotics in the cavity it's in?
MED-ICAL SPON-GES!
Is accelerated healing something you wish?
MED-ICAL SPON-GES!
Then wait for the studies to all get published!
MED-ICAL SPON-GES!
MED-ICAL SPON-GES!
MED-ICAAAAALLLL! SPOOON-GEEEEESSSS!

The redundant department of redundency called. (2)

BenFenner (981342) | about a year and a half ago | (#42043017)

This new, injectable sponge is incredibly useful because not only can it be filled with drugs that then are slowly released, it also has a memory and can be collapsed down to a tiny fraction of its original size.

Makes me wonder what other kind of sponges are out there that can't hold liquid, can't collapse, and don't remember their shape. O_o

My brother-in-law does this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42043945)

He is already a drug-filled injectable sponge on my couch. He has also expanded quite a bit since I've known him.

Maybe a replacement for breast enhancements? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42044841)

Yay, we can combine contraceptives (slow release mechanism required?) and boob jobs (extra padding required)! [Yes, this anonymouse is male, unfortunately, and doesn't really know anything about either topics, but wouldn't object to being enlightened if he got stuff wrong]

How is this new? (1)

morganjayp (2775505) | about a year and a half ago | (#42045283)

Um, Harvard invented the twinkie?

Memory? (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about a year and a half ago | (#42045349)

This new, injectable sponge ... has a memory and can be collapsed down to a tiny fraction of its original size.

So does my kitchen sponge.

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