Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Microneedle patch could replace standard tuberculosis skin test

27.08.2013
Each year, millions of people in the United States get a tuberculosis skin test to see if they have the infection that still affects one-third of the world’s population.

But the standard diagnostic test is difficult to give, because a hypodermic needle must be inserted at a precise angle and depth in the arm to successfully check for tuberculosis.


Marco Rolandi, UW

A chitin microneedle patch tested on human skin.


Marco Rolandi, UW

Comparison of a microneedle tuberculosis test with a traditional test administered with a hypodermic needle. The lower images show needle-depth problems that can occur with the conventional test.

Now, a team led by University of Washington engineers has created a patch with tiny, biodegradable needles that can penetrate the skin and precisely deliver a tuberculosis test. The researchers published their results online Aug. 26 in the journal Advanced Healthcare Materials.

“With a microneedle test there’s little room for user error, because the depth of delivery is determined by the microneedle length rather than the needle-insertion angle,” said senior author Marco Rolandi, a UW assistant professor of materials science and engineering. “This test is painless and easier to administer than the traditional skin test with a hypodermic needle.”

A tuberculosis test is a common precautionary measure for teachers, health care professionals and international travelers. The bacterial infection usually attacks the lungs and can live in an inactive state for years in the body. A diagnostic test involves an injection in a person’s arm. Within two or three days, a swollen, firm bump will appear if an infection is present.

Rolandi’s lab and collaborators at the Infectious Disease Research Institute in Seattle believe this is the first time microneedles made from biomaterials have been used as a diagnostic tool for tuberculosis. They say their test will be easier to use, less painful and has the potential to be more successful than the standard tuberculosis skin test.

The researchers tested the patch on guinea pigs and found that after the microneedles were inserted using the patch, the skin reaction associated with having a tuberculosis infection was the same as when using the standard hypodermic needle test. A microneedle patch test has potential as a simpler, more reliable option than the traditional tuberculosis test for children who are needle-shy, or in developing countries where medical care is limited, Rolandi said.

“It’s like putting on a bandage,” Rolandi said. “As long as the patch is applied on the skin, the test is always delivered to the same depth underneath the skin.”

Comparison of a microneedle tuberculosis test with a traditional test administered with a hypodermic needle. The lower images show needle-depth problems that can occur with the conventional test.

With the standard test, if a hypodermic needle is inserted at the wrong angle, the solution to check for tuberculosis is injected too deep or too shallow into the skin, and the test fails.

Microneedles have been used in recent years as a painless alternative to hypodermic needles to deliver drugs to the body. Microneedles on a patch can be placed on an arm or leg, which then create small holes in the skin’s outermost layer, allowing the drugs coated on each needle to diffuse into the body.

Microneedles are made from silicon, metals and synthetic polymers, and most recently of natural, biodegradable materials such as silk and chitin, a material found in hard outer shells of some insects and crustaceans.

The UW team developed microneedles made from chitin that are each 750 micrometers long, or about one-fortieth of an inch. Each needle tip is coated with purified protein derivative, the material used for testing for tuberculosis. The researchers found that these microneedles were strong enough to penetrate the skin and deliver the tuberculosis test.

“It’s a great application of this technology and I hope it will become a commercial product,” said paper co-author Darrick Carter, a biochemist and a vice president at the Infectious Disease Research Institute.

The researchers will continue developing the microneedle tuberculosis test and plan to test it next on humans. They also hope to develop different diagnostic tests using microneedles, including allergy tests.

Other co-authors are Jungho Jin, a UW postdoctoral researcher in materials science and engineering, and Valerie Reese and Rhea Coler, both at the Infectious Disease Research Institute.

The research was funded by the Coulter Foundation, the UW Center for Commercialization, the Washington Research Foundation, a 3M untenured faculty award and the Infectious Disease Research Institute.

For more information, contact Rolandi at rolandi@uw.edu or 206-221-0309.

Michelle Ma | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uw.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Finnish research group discovers a new immune system regulator
23.02.2018 | University of Turku

nachricht Minimising risks of transplants
22.02.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Attoseconds break into atomic interior

A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.

In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...

Im Focus: Good vibrations feel the force

A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.

By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Basque researchers turn light upside down

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Finnish research group discovers a new immune system regulator

23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Attoseconds break into atomic interior

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>