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The Biocage: An Implantable Device for Direct Local Delivery of Therapeutic Agents


Researchers at Children's National Hospital have developed a microscopic implantable device that can be delivered through a very small incision or via a needle into nearly any tissue type or into a solid tumor. This new technology will allow the direct, localized delivery of nearly any therapeutic agents to nearly any tissue type.


Current devices designed to locally deliver a therapy have several shortcomings, such as being severely invasive, lacking in fine control of delivery to surrounding tissue, and inability to customize. Our device addresses these unmet needs. The device can be fabricated with 3D printing which allows for precise design of micron size features and the customization of the parameters of the device to allow for a personalized approach. The implantable devices can be delivered to a precise target area, and it include a porous outer wall with an interior void, a carrier material and the therapeutic agent housed inside the interior void. The total volume of the implantable device can range from about 40 nanoliters to about 10 microliters, and many types of therapeutic agents can be delivered including compounds, protein biologics, nucleic acids, stem cells, and others.

Features and Benefits

  • Small size for minimally invasive localized insertion into target tissues
  • Versatility based on the structural characteristics (relative size, pore size, pore number, wall thickness, filling diameter, etc.), material characteristics and filled materials to range from local drug delivery to cell based therapies
  • Device can be made with biocompatible/biodegradable materials
  • Easily manufactured by 3D printing
  • Ability to deliver multiple therapies


  • Drug delivery to tumors and diverse tissues

Stage of Development

  • In vivo proof of concept data with mouse cortex.

Intellectual Property Status

  • “Porous Implantable Devices” International Patent application PCT/US18/49675, unpublished
  • “An Implantable Micro-Caged Device for Direct Local Delivery of Agents”, Son et al., Scientific Reports

This technology is available for exclusive or non-exclusive licensing.

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