Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Painless 'microneedle' patch may take the sting out of shots

21.08.2009
Good news for people fearful of needles and squeamish of shots: Scientists at the 238th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society report the design of a painless patch that may someday render hypodermic needles — as well as annual flu shots — a thing of the past.

Lined with tiny "microneedles," these patches could make treatment of diabetes and a wide range of other diseases safer, more effective and less painful. Used as tiny hypodermic needles, they could improve treatment of macular degeneration and other diseases of the eye.

"It's our goal to get rid of the need for hypodermic needles in many cases and replace them with a patch that can be painlessly and simply applied by a patient," says Mark Prausnitz, Ph.D. "If you can move to something that's as easy to apply as a band-aid, you've now opened the door for people to self-administer their medicine without special training."

Prausnitz says that advances in the electronics industry in microfabricating very small objects like transistors enabled the development of microneedles. "We've built off those technological advances to address a need in medicine," he explains. "We're trying to bring the two worlds together." Each needle is only a few hundred microns long, about the width of a few strands of human hair.

Prausnitz and his colleagues at the Georgia Institute of Technology suggest that the microneedle patch could, for instance, replace yearly trips to the doctor for flu shots.

"Although it would probably first be used in a clinical setting, our vision is to have a self-administered flu vaccine patch. So instead of making an appointment with your doctor to get your flu shot, you can stop by the pharmacy or even get a patch in the mail and self-apply. We think that could very much increase the vaccine coverage since it would be easier for people to be vaccinated," Prausnitz explains.

In a collaboration with Emory University, Prausnitz and his team administered flu vaccines via conventional injections and microneedle patches in mice. After exposing the mice to the flu, they compared the resulting immune response and antibody levels. They found that the antibody levels were the same by either route. Taking a closer look, they discovered that microneedle delivery resulted in a better protective immune response by other measures.

"Toward the goal of a flu vaccine patch, we are continuing the animal studies, but we're also working toward our first human trial, which we hope to do in 2010," Prausnitz says.

Microneedles are not just able to deliver drugs through the skin — they can also be used for targeted drug delivery in the eye. They may help create an improved treatment for macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in the United States.

In recent years, macular degeneration has become treatable thanks to new drugs that halt and partially reverse the disease. The new drugs are a victory for the millions of patients suffering macular degeneration, but the treatment is not pleasant — the drugs must be injected directly into the eye every month.

"For the squeamish there are obvious drawbacks, but more importantly, there are real safety concerns about that kind of repeated injection into the eye. With a microneedle, we can still do the same kind of concept, injecting something into the eye, but we can now do it with a very short needle that doesn't penetrate all the way in," says Prausnitz, adding that "no one else is working on microneedle-based drug delivery to the eye."

He notes that microneedle treatments of the eye can target specific tissues in the eye. "In localizing the delivery, microneedle treatments for macular degeneration and other diseases of the eye may prove safer than conventional needles. We're now doing experiments with rabbits and non-human primates — we hope to have the first human trial in the next few years," says Prausnitz.

The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 154,000 members, ACS is the world's largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

Michael Bernstein | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.acs.org

More articles from Medical Engineering:

nachricht New bioimaging technique is fast and economical
21.08.2017 | Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

nachricht Noninvasive eye scan could detect key signs of Alzheimer's years before patients show symptoms
18.08.2017 | Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

All articles from Medical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Nagoya physicists resolve long-standing mystery of structure-less transition

21.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

Chronic stress induces fatal organ dysfunctions via a new neural circuit

21.08.2017 | Health and Medicine

Scientists from the MSU studied new liquid-crystalline photochrom

21.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>