With a new pump developed by scientists at Purdue University, it may now be possible for a microneedles drug delivery patch to deliver a wider range of medications than now possible with conventional patches.
"There are only a handful of drugs that currently can be administered with patches," said Babak Ziaie, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and biomedical engineering.
"Most new drugs are large molecules that won't go through the skin. And a lot of drugs, such as those for treating cancer and autoimmune disorders, you can't take orally because they aren't absorbed into the blood system through the digestive tract," he added.
Microneedle patches, on the other hand, do not cause pain because they barely penetrate the skin, he said. They would work like use-and-throw bandages.
The new pump created for the patch activated by touch from the heat of your finger and requires no battery.
It contains a liquid that boils at body temperature so that the heat from a finger's touch causes it to rapidly turn to a vapour, exerting enough pressure to force drugs through the microneedles.
Ziaie has tested prototypes with liquids called fluorocarbons, which are used as refrigerants and also in semiconductor manufacturing.
Research findings are detailed in a paper being presented during the 14th International Conference on Miniaturized Systems for Chemistry and Life Sciences on Oct. 3-7 at University of Groningen in The Netherlands.