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UKRI Innovation Fellowship awarded to Dr Xiao Liu

Congratulations to lecturer Dr Xiao Liu who has just been awarded a prestigious UKRI Innovation Fellowship

Congratulations to lecturer Dr Xiao Liu who has just been awarded a prestigious UKRI Innovation Fellowship (£574k) on Leading-Edge Healthcare and Medicines. The fellowship will last for three years and is in collaboration with MediWiSe, Royal Veterinary College and GlaxoSmithKline. Dr Liu’s team which is based at the Sensors Circuits and Systems Group will aim to develop a low-cost batteryless wireless dosage sensor which can detect the drug dosage within implantable drug delivery devices.

Thanks to rapid advances in microfabrication, RF technology and materials science, implantable drug delivery (IDD) has become very appealing for many types of drug and for treating many chronic diseases. The global market for IDD already exceeds £10 billion. It is projected that the market size for IDD will increase exponentially over the next decade. IDD offers several unique advantages: i) it localizes the drug delivery, maximizing the efficacy-dose relationship; ii) it reduces toxicity and leads to fewer side effects; iii) it supports the controlled administration of a therapeutic dose at a desirable rate of delivery; and iv) it improves patient compliance by eliminating the chances of missing or erring in a dose.

An IDD device can be classified as either passive or active, depending on whether there is a permanent power source on the device. Passive IDD devices are simple, but lack quantitative feedback from the implant to the external unit after implantation. Thanks to the on-board battery, active devices have higher device intelligence than passive devices. Many active IDD can continuously monitor the drug dosage and send the information wirelessly to an external reader. However, existing sensors in active IDD devices usually require a dedicated readout circuit with the sensor inside the implant, increasing the total size, cost and power consumption of the device. The fellowship will develop a hybrid technology which combines the strength of both passive and active IDD devices. It is similar to the RFID technology for which an external reader interrogates a passive sensing tag, wirelessly acquiring the information from the sensor. It requires no battery and is not limited by the types of drug or media surrounding the drug.