Taking a medication every day, or multiple times a day, is way too much work. You're bound to forget every once in a while. So what if you could program a cell to release the medication for you? In a study published this week, a group of bioengineers describe a way to do exactly that, taking advantage of the body's natural rewards system to release the medicine during the day.
A cell, specially altered to release a blood pressure-lowering medication in response to dopamine, was injected into the abdomen of mice. Since dopamine is a reward-system neurotransmitter involved in sex, eating and taking addictive drugs, the mice got a dose of medication whenever they did things that made them happy, like eat or copulate.