One step closer to needle-free injections

March 6, 2007

A team of UCSB researchers, in collaboration with colleagues from UC Berkeley and StrataGent Life Sciences, of Los Gatos, California, has designed a novel pulsed microjet system engineered to deliver protein drugs into the skin without the pain or bruising that deeper penetration injection systems cause. The research was published online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The effort to create needle-free drug delivery systems is driven by a combination of factors, including needle phobia, pain and discomfort, infections, and accidental needle sticks to healthcare providers. Currently, about 12 billion needle injections are performed every year for the delivery of vaccines and protein therapeutics such as insulin, growth hormone and erythropoietin, a red blood cell booster. Needle-free delivery of vaccines has recently been identified as one of the significant emerging challenges in global health.

The researchers felt that the pain and bruising caused by previously-developed jet injectors was caused by the deep penetration of jets into the skin, creating negative reactions of nerves and capillaries. The pulsed mircrojets engineered by the researchers combine high velocity (more than 100 meters per second) with very small jet diameters (between 50 and 100 micrometers), delivering only 2 to 15 nanoliters of liquid drug at a time. The research showed that the pulsed microjet system could be used to effectively deliver drugs for local and systemic applications without using needles.

"The microjet system delivers precise doses into superficial skin layers, thereby mitigating pain," says Samir Mitragotri, a professor of chemical engineering at UCSB and a lead author of the paper. The system was designed as an alternative to the macro-scale systems that had been causing pain and bruising. "We realized that we had to find a way to stop the jets from going deep into the skin," says Mitragotri. "Speeding the delivery, combined with using extremely small jet diameters and less liquid per pulsation, was shown to be more effective."

Source: University of California - Santa Barbara

Explore further: How to train nursing students? Schools turn to fake patients

Related Stories

Getting (drugs) under your skin

September 14, 2012

Using ultrasound waves, MIT engineers have found a way to enhance the permeability of skin to drugs, making transdermal drug delivery more efficient. This technology could pave the way for noninvasive drug delivery or needle-free ...

Microneedles enhance drug administration through skin

February 4, 2008

In what is believed to be the first peer-reviewed study of its kind involving human subjects, researchers at the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy and the Georgia Institute of Technology have demonstrated that patches ...

Recommended for you

Scientists write 'traps' for light with tiny ink droplets

October 23, 2017

A microscopic 'pen' that is able to write structures small enough to trap and harness light using a commercially available printing technique could be used for sensing, biotechnology, lasers, and studying the interaction ...

When words, structured data are placed on single canvas

October 22, 2017

If "ugh" is your favorite word to describe entering, amending and correcting data on the rows and columns on spreadsheets you are not alone. Coda, a new name in the document business, feels it's time for a change. This is ...

Enhancing solar power with diatoms

October 20, 2017

Diatoms, a kind of algae that reproduces prodigiously, have been called "the jewels of the sea" for their ability to manipulate light. Now, researchers hope to harness that property to boost solar technology.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.