Biodegradable needles could soon be a reality after a scientist at the University in Seoul, South Korea revealed that he has perfected a way of making solid micro needles. This was made by combining a drug with a sticky syrup-like substance and then coating it on a thin substrate.
The idea of a biodegradable needle made of a particular drug has been known for long. But nobody has perfected a way of making needles out of pharmaceuticals, at least not ones that are sharp and thin enough not to cause pain, plus long and strong enough to pierce the epidermis, which is about 50 micrometres thick, generally.
However, Hyung Il Jung at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea, has discovered an idea that could change this scenario, reports New Scientist magazine.
He and a colleague say that solid microneedles can be made by mixing a drug with a sticky syrup-like substance, which is coated in a thin layer onto a substrate.
This can be drawn into a needle shape by touching it from above with a pointed object and then drawing out the mixture by lifting that point, like touching syrup with your finger.
This produces a thin and narrow "needle" up to several hundred micrometres long, which is then cured to make it hard.
By bringing several points into contact with the surface, it is feasible to make a range of needles like the head of a brush.
According to Hyung Il Jung, these needles can be injected without pain and will biodegrade quickly to release whatever drug they are carrying directly into the body.