Advanced implantable drug delivery technologies: transforming the clinical landscape of therapeutics for chronic diseases

  • Fernanda P. Pons-Faudoa
  • Andrea Ballerini
  • Jason Sakamoto
  • Alessandro GrattoniEmail author
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Biomedical Micro-Nanotechnologies toward Translation


Chronic diseases account for the majority of all deaths worldwide, and their prevalence is expected to escalate in the next 10 years. Because chronic disorders require long-term therapy, the healthcare system must address the needs of an increasing number of patients. The use of new drug administration routes, specifically implantable drug delivery devices, has the potential to reduce treatment-monitoring clinical visits and follow-ups with healthcare providers. Also, implantable drug delivery devices can be designed to maintain drug concentrations in the therapeutic window to achieve controlled, continuous release of therapeutics over extended periods, eliminating the risk of patient non-compliance to oral treatment. A higher local drug concentration can be achieved if the device is implanted in the affected tissue, reducing systemic adverse side effects and decreasing the challenges and discomfort of parenteral treatment. Although implantable drug delivery devices have existed for some time, interest in their therapeutic potential is growing, with a global market expected to reach over $12 billion USD by 2018. This review discusses implantable drug delivery technologies in an advanced stage of development or in clinical use and focuses on the state-of-the-art of reservoir-based implants including pumps, electromechanical systems, and polymers, sites of implantation and side effects, and deployment in developing countries.


MEMS NEMS Non-biodegradable polymers Long-acting formulations Implants 



We thank Virginia Facciotto (virginia.facciotto for the design of graphics and figures. Funding support from The Nancy Owens Breast Cancer Foundation, Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) GA-2013-118, CASIS GA-2014-145, NIH NIAID R01 AI120749-01A1, NIH NIGMS R01 GM 127558.

Compliance with ethical standards

J.S and A.G. disclose a financial interest in NanoMedical systems, Inc. F.P.P. and A.B. disclose no competing financial interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fernanda P. Pons-Faudoa
    • 1
    • 2
  • Andrea Ballerini
    • 1
    • 3
  • Jason Sakamoto
    • 1
  • Alessandro Grattoni
    • 1
    • 4
    • 5
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of NanomedicineHouston Methodist Research InstituteHoustonUSA
  2. 2.School of Medicine and Health SciencesTecnologico de MonterreyMonterreyMexico
  3. 3.Department of Oncology and Onco-HematologyUniversity of MilanMilanItaly
  4. 4.Department of SurgeryHouston Methodist HospitalHoustonUSA
  5. 5.Department of Radiation OncologyHouston Methodist HospitalHoustonUSA

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