Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Microneedles: Report describes progress in new technology for painless drug delivery

18.11.2003


New fabrication results



The paper describes research at the Georgia Institute of Technology on fabricating hollow and solid microneedles in a variety of sizes and shapes from metals, biodegradable polymers, silicon and glass. It also reports on testing with cadaver skin and animals that demonstrates the ability of the micron-scale needles to deliver proteins, nanoparticles, and both small and large molecules through the skin.

"We’ve opened up the potential use of microneedles for delivering a broad range of therapeutics," said Mark Prausnitz, a professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and principal investigator for the project. "Fabricating both hollow and solid microneedles in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials allows us to deliver large molecules with significant therapeutic interest such as insulin, proteins produced by the biotechnology industry, and nanoparticles that could encapsulate a drug or demonstrate the ability to deliver a virus for vaccinations."


Georgia Tech’s development of microneedles began in the late 1990s with microfabrication of solid needles made from silicon, using microlithography and etching technologies originally developed for the microelectronics industry. The researchers produced arrays of up to 400 needles designed to punch holes in the outer layer of skin to increase its permeability to small molecules applied with patches.

That work has broadened to include both solid and hollow microneedles in a broad range of shapes with feature sizes from one to 1,000 microns. Prausnitz and his research team have fabricated microneedle arrays from metal and polymer materials that have sufficient strength to reliably penetrate the skin without breakage.

Moving beyond the original – and complex – microelectronics-based fabrication techniques, the researchers have developed multiple manufacturing processes suitable for the mass production of microneedles from inexpensive metal and polymer materials. By making molds of their silicon needles, for instance, the research team has produced arrays of identical metal or polymer microneedles using a modified form of injection molding that can readily be adapted to industrial mass production.

Molds were also made without the need for creating silicon needles to use as masters. Metal microneedles were produced through electrodeposition onto laser-drilled polymer molds, while glass microneedle masters were fabricated using conventional drawn-glass micropipette techniques.

The broad range of sizes, shapes and materials will permit production of microneedle arrays customized for the type and volume of drug to be delivered, the time period of use, and most importantly, minimizing pain.

"There are trade offs between getting needles to go into the skin easily, getting drugs to deliver easily and making needles that don’t hurt," Prausnitz said. "Not every application will need a different needle, but there will probably be classes of applications that will benefit from different needle designs."

Among the potential applications are:
  • Arrays of hollow needles could be used to continuously carry drugs into the body using simple diffusion or a pump system;

  • Hollow microneedles could be used to remove fluid from the body for analysis – such as blood glucose measurements – and to then supply microliter volumes of insulin or other drug as required;

  • Microneedles may prove useful for immunization programs in developing countries or for the mass vaccination or administration of antidotes in bioterrorism incidents because they could be applied by persons with minimal medical training, and

  • Very small microneedles could provide highly targeted drug administration to individual cells.

Microneedles are expected to be less painful than conventional hypodermic needles because they are too small to significantly stimulate nerve endings, Prausnitz said. Small-scale studies so far have confirmed that expectation, and additional pain studies are planned. The safety and effectiveness of microneedles must still be proven in humans before they can receive Food & Drug Administration approval for clinical use.

Before microneedles find widespread use, the researchers must perfect the techniques for optimally inserting them into the skin, and complete the integration of microneedles into a full drug delivery system. The need to minimize variability in needle insertion is being addressed in part by development of an applicator device that would be part of the delivery system.

Several companies are pursuing development of microneedles, including some that are conducting clinical trials.

"There is an aggressive movement toward bringing microneedles to the market," Prausnitz said. "We’ve shown that microneedles can serve as a hybrid drug delivery system, combining the advantages of conventional needles – which deliver drugs easily – with transdermal patches that are more patient-friendly. I expect that within the next five years, a microneedle device will become available for clinical use."


Beyond Prausnitz, the research team includes Devin McAllister, Ping Wang, Shawn Davis, Jung-Hwan Park, Paul Canatella and Mark Allen. The research has been sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the American Diabetes Association and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

John Toon | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://gtresearchnews.gatech.edu/

More articles from Process Engineering:

nachricht CeGlaFlex project: wafer-thin, unbreakable and flexible ceramic and glass
25.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT

nachricht Additive manufacturing, from macro to nano
11.04.2017 | Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V.

All articles from Process Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>