Magazine article USA TODAY

Fighting Diseases with Microchips. (Biomedicine)

Magazine article USA TODAY

Fighting Diseases with Microchips. (Biomedicine)

Article excerpt

Treatment for life-threatening diseases and relief from disease-related pain one day may be supplied by microscopic chips that could be implanted in the body, according to researchers in the new field of biomedical nanotechnology. The chips--called biological microelectromechanical devices--are less than half the width of a human hair. They could contain drugs, muscle cells, or even be equipped to monitor a patient's condition minute-to-minute. These devices already have shown therapeutic potential in treating heart disease and diabetes.

"The development of these microscopic chips will let us do a whole host of exciting things in biomedicine? predicts Robert Michler, chief of cardiothoracic surgery at Ohio State University, Columbus. He indicates that physicians in the future will combine the use of nanotechnology with another revolutionary process, robotic surgery. Michler led a study using robotic techniques to perform open-heart surgery on 60 patients. Surgeons took arteries from the patients' chest walls and sewed them onto their hearts. …

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