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Microneedle patch promises painless pricks

Saturday, October 18, 2014 - 02:16

Researchers at The National University of Singapore have invented a new microneedle patch that could offer a faster and less painful delivery of drugs such as insulin and painkillers.

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Painful needle injections might become a thing of the past, thanks to researchers at the National University of Singapore. Dr. Kang Lifeng and his team have created a small patch that can deliver drugs quickly and pain-free into the bloodstream of patients. (SOUNDBITE) (English) NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE DEPARTMENT OF PHARMACY RESEARCHER KANG LIFENG DEMONSTRATING HOW TO USE THE MICRONEEDLE PATCH, SAYING: "What is so special about this patch is that, if you start to remove the liner of this patch, you can see something special, which is a microneedle, something like this. This is a microneedle that contains painkiller that can be slowly released into the skin. You can apply this patch onto the skin like this." The dozens of tiny needles are created by mixing a polymer solution with a drug of choice. After the mixture hardens under UV rays, it produces a solid plastic patch. When applied, the microneedles deliver the drugs into the inner layers of the skin in just five minutes. (SOUNDBITE) (English) NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE DEPARTMENT OF PHARMACY RESEARCHER KANG LIFENG, SAYING: "The reason for this is because skin is a very good barrier, so most of the molecules that are water-soluble or very big, they cannot go through the skin. That's the reason why normally we have to deliver the drugs through the oral route, that is, people take it in the form of tablets or capsules, or people have to do injections." Kang thinks the patch is suited for both medical and commercial use. For beauty products like collagen, the patch could help penetrate the dermis layer of the skin. Conventional creams can only reach the outermost layer. For medical use, Kang thinks diabetes patients will benefit most from the non-invasive treatment. (SOUNDBITE) (English) NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE DEPARTMENT OF PHARMACY RESEARCHER KANG LIFENG, SAYING: "So if we have this patch, and we put insulin inside this patch, then people don't have to do injections anymore, you just patch on, then it can deliver insulin through the skin without pain." A single patch costs about $1 dollar to make, but the final price tag can vary depending on the ingredients. The microneedle patch has been tested successfully on various animals and human clinical trials should begin soon.

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Microneedle patch promises painless pricks

Saturday, October 18, 2014 - 02:16

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