A team of scientists from the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm developed a new microneedle patch. This painless microneedle patch has the potential that it could soon replace painful injections.
This microneedle patch consists of stainless steel needles that are placed on a soft polymer base. It’s soft polymer base make this material comfortable to wear. This is the first combination believed to be scientifically studied. The soft material makes it comfortable to wear, while the stiff needles ensure reliable skin penetration.
Investigator Frank Niklaus said, “To the best of our knowledge, flexible and stretchable patches with arrays of sharp and stiff microneedles have not been demonstrated to date.”
The microneedle penetrates through the upper layer of the skin to avoid touching the nerves. This enables delivery of drugs, extraction of physiological signals for fitness monitoring devices, extracting body fluids for real-time monitoring of glucose, pH level, and other diagnostic markers, as well as skin treatments in cosmetics and bioelectric treatments.
Niklaus said, “almost all microneedle arrays currently being tested are monoliths. Both the needles and their supporting base are made of the same, hard and stiff, material.”
Scientists then tested two concepts of the study. One among them was stretchable and slightly more flexible than the other, with a base of molded thiolene-epoxy-based thermoset film. The more flexible patch conformed well to deformations of the skin surface. All 50 needles penetrated the skin during a 30-minute test.
Co-author Niclas Roxhed said, “A successful microneedle product could have major implications for health care delivery. “The chronically ill would not have to take daily injections.”
According to World Health Organization analysis, about 1.3 million people die worldwide each year due to improper handling of needles. But, this microneedle offers hygiene benefit.
Roxhead said, “Since the patch does not enter the bloodstream, there is less risk of spreading infections.”