Microneedle patch technology has existed for several years. The patches allow drugs to be delivered through hundreds of micron-sized needles which pierce the skin and dissolve. However, because of the rigidity of their makeup, the old patches had trouble conforming to the skin, wasting drug material and making it difficult to control the amount of the drug which each patient received.
Now Lissett Bickford, an assistant professor with the Virginia Tech, has developed a flexible microneedle patch. The new patch allows drugs to be delivered directly and fully through the skin. Where the older, rigid patches were difficult to produce in bulk, the new flexible microneedle patch allows for quicker and greater widescale production.
The new patch looks a little like a regular household bandage. It comes in different shapes and sizes, depending on the amount of drug to be delivered and the area of the body it is intended to be used on. Scientists predict that microneedle patches could eventually lead to at-home immunisation for common illnesses such as influenza. It is also expected that this method of drug delivery will help to minimise side effects.
You can find out more about the new microneedle patch at the News Medical website.
If you could self-immunise, would you? Or do you think going to a doctor is an important part of healthcare?