No More Scary Needles: 3D-Printed Microneedles Dissolve In The Skin
Having had a recent stint in the hospital for a few days, I can tell you that needles are the worst. The IV needle going in is especially one that you should look away as they’re putting it in your arm. Needles may be on their way out if research from the University of Dallas has anything to say about it. They might be able to offer an alternative using a patch with 3D printed microneedles that can deliver drugs by just putting it on your arm.
Microneedles has recently been getting a lot of attention because it means someone caring for someone can give the drugs to the patient with no knowledge of needles. Say if you’re a son or daughter taking care of their parent. They can put on the patch with no help, and also since they’re not using big needles, the possibility of infection is dramatically lessened. It also has a better shelf-life than drugs that have to be kept in vials and stored
The microneedles are around 100 micrometers wide. These little needles can be coated with drug like a tiny version of an arrow dipped in poison, but not that at all. Once applied to the skin, the microneedles will break off and be absorbed and dissolved, leaving no trace besides the medication it just delivered. One of the only problems is manufacturing the needles, which is not an easy task.
Jeremiah Gassensmith, and his team in Dallas, use 3D printing to make the microneedles from polylactide, which is a biodegradable and renewable polymer which is used in stitches that dissolve. The problem is, is that these printing techniques to make the small needles isn’t compatible with the polymer necessary. Instead of that, Gassensmith and his team used a fused deposition modelling (FDM), a 3D printing technique that will work with the polylactide.
(Via Cosmo Magazine)
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Jeff Sorensen is an author, writer and occasional comedian living in Detroit, Michigan. You can look for more of his work on The Huffington Post, UPROXX, BGR, ScreenRant, and by just looking up his name.