Narrator: This is Science Today. Bioengineers at the University of California, San Francisco are working on a microdevice that would be injected into the body and work as an intestinal patch to deliver medication in a controllable way.
Desai: We all think about swallowing a pill to take a medication, but it turns out that very few medications can be taken orally. And that's why a lot of the medications that we take have to be injected or sometimes infused directly into the blood.
Narrator: Researcher Tejal Desai explains that drugs taken orally are often destroyed in the very aggressive environment of the intestine.
Desai: It's really designed to break down food and get things to be absorbed. So we've been trying to develop some technologies where you can put a drug into these devices. The devices are able to stick to certain regions of the intestine and actually enhance the ability of those drugs to get across the intestinal wall. And so we're designing this to actually degrade right after the drug is completed.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.