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Researchers Develop ‘Micro-Needle Arrays’ for Drug Administration

Tiny needle-like projections deliver drugs through the skin (Nov. 14)

Researchers at Fujifilm in Japan are working on developing “micro-needle arrays” for the administration of vaccines, hormones, and other drugs. Each array consists of a small sheet covered with hundreds or thousands of tiny needle-like projections. The sheet is attached to the skin.

When the sheet is placed on the skin surface, a drug can be injected from the projections and delivered into the body. The penetration of the projections of a micro-needle array will not cause the pain associated with standard injections, according to the researchers.

The projections are made of polysaccharides and dissolve into the skin within minutes. Other array types, with projections that do not dissolve into the skin, carry the risk of the projections breaking off and remaining in the body.

Currently, the researchers are using micro-needle arrays to deliver vaccines and hormones to animals. These investigations have shown that vaccine administration with this method can generate antibody production equivalent to that of standard vaccine injections. Preparations are being made to conduct clinical research in human subjects.

Source: Fujifilm; November 14, 2012.

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