, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 469-478
Date: 16 May 2008

Design of an implantable active microport system for patient specific drug release

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We present a novel concept of an implantable active microport based on micro technology that incorporates a high-resolution volumetric dosing unit and a drug reservoir into the space of a conventional subcutaneous port. The controlled release of small drug volumes from such an “active microport” is crucial e.g. for innovative methods in cancer treatment or pain therapy. Our microport system delivers a flow rate in the range of 10–1,000 μl/h and enables a patient-specific release profile. The core of our device is a two-stage piezoelectric micropump. It features a backpressure-independent volumetric dosing capability i.e. a stable flow rate is ensured up to a backpressure of 30 kPa. The stroke volume and hence the resolution of the mircopump is voltage controlled and can be preset between 10 and 200 nl. A miniaturized high-performance electronic control unit enables freely programmable dosing profiles. This electronic circuit is optimized for both energy consumption and weight which are both essential for a portable device. The data of an implemented pressure sensor are used to permanently monitor the dosing process and to detect a potential catheter occlusion. A polyurethane soft lithography process is introduced for the fabrication of the prototype. Therewith, a compact multilayer system has been developed which measures only 50 × 35 × 25 mm3.