Science Advances | VOL. 8

Autonomous push button–controlled rapid insulin release from a piezoelectrically activated subcutaneous cell implant

Publication Date Jun 17, 2022


Traceless physical cues are desirable for remote control of the in situ production and real-time dosing of biopharmaceuticals in cell-based therapies. However, current optogenetic, magnetogenetic, or electrogenetic devices require sophisticated electronics, complex artificial intelligence–assisted software, and external energy supplies for power and control. Here, we describe a self-sufficient subcutaneous push button–controlled cellular implant powered simply by repeated gentle finger pressure exerted on the overlying skin. Pushing the button causes transient percutaneous deformation of the implant’s embedded piezoelectric membrane, which produces sufficient low-voltage energy inside a semi-permeable platinum-coated cell chamber to mediate rapid release of a biopharmaceutical from engineered electro-sensitive human cells. Release is fine-tuned by varying the frequency and duration of finger-pressing stimulation. As proof of concept, we show that finger-pressure activation of the subcutaneous implant can restore normoglycemia in a mouse model of type 1 diabetes. Self-sufficient push-button devices may provide a new level of convenience for patients to control their cell-based therapies.


Cell-based Therapies Push Button Finger Pressure Proof Of Concept Rapid Release Production Of Biopharmaceuticals Duration Of Stimulation Gentle Pressure Transient Deformation Frequency Of Stimulation

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