In near future getting a shot at GP’s office could become less painful because MIT researchers have engineered an apparatus which carries a minute, high-pressure jet of medicine through the skin devoid of using a hypodermic needle. The new device can be programmed to deliver a range of doses to diverse depth.
The new needleless device could also improve acquiescence among patients who might otherwise stay away from the uneasiness of regularly injecting themselves with drugs like insulin. In few decades back researchers have developed a range of substitutes to hypodermic needles, such as nicotine patches, which slowly release drugs through the skin.
But, the problem with these patches is that they can only release drug molecules small enough to pass through pores of the skin which limiting the sort of medicine that could be delivered. Because of rising trends of the delivery of large protein-based medicines, researchers kept on developing new techniques capable of delivering them such as jet injections.
Jet injections generate a high-velocity of medicines that pierce the skin. However, there are several shortcomings in these commercially available devices, like they use spring-loaded designs, which releasing a coil that delivers the same amount of drugs to the same depth every time.
But now MIT team led Prof Ian Hunter, has engineered a jet-injection system capable of delivering a range of doses to variable depths in an extremely controlled manner. The design is assemble about a mechanism known as a Lorentz-force actuator, which is a small, powerful magnet surrounded by a coil of wire attached to a piston inside a drug ampoule.
Once current is applied, it interacts with the magnetic field to generate a force that pushes the piston forward, ejecting the drug at very high pressure and velocity out through the ampoule’s nozzle which is an opening as broad as a mosquito’s proboscis. The speed of the coil and the velocity passed on to the drug can be controlled by the amount of current applied.
Through different trails, the team found that diverse skin types may need different waveforms to deliver adequate volumes of drugs to the desired depth. They are also developing a version of the device for transdermal delivery of drugs usually found in powdered form by programming the device to vibrate, turning powder into a fluidized form which can be delivered through the skin similar to a liquid.
The development on the new technology was reported in the journal Medical Engineering and Physics.