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 Collagen nanofibrils in mammalian tissues get stronger with exercise
14.12.2018 | University of Illinois College of Engineering

nachricht New discoveries predict ability to forecast dementia from single molecule
12.12.2018 | UT Southwestern Medical Center

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: Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.

Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...

Im Focus: An energy-efficient way to stay warm: Sew high-tech heating patches to your clothes

Personal patches could reduce energy waste in buildings, Rutgers-led study says

What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

Im Focus: Topological material switched off and on for the first time

Key advance for future topological transistors

Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

14.12.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Tangled magnetic fields power cosmic particle accelerators

14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

In search of missing worlds, Hubble finds a fast evaporating exoplanet

14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>