The eyes have it

University of British Columbia researchers have developed a device that can be implanted behind the eye to allow for controlled and on-demand release of drugs to treat diabetic retinopathy.

A team of scientists and engineers collaborated to create the drug delivery system, which can be triggered through an external magnetic field. 

The tiny device, no larger than the head of a pin, has a reservoir that is sealed with an elastic magnetic membrane.

A magnetic field causes the membrane to deform and discharge a specific amount of the drug docetaxel, much like squeezing water out of a flexible bottle. In a series of lab tests, the researchers found the implantable device kept its integrity with negligible leakage over 35 days.

They also tested the drug against two types of cultured cancer cells. The docetaxel retained its pharmacological efficacy for more than two months in the device, and was able to kill off the cancer cells.