Researchers at the University of North Carolina and Laser Zentrum Hannover have developed a new polymerization technology, which can ease the pain of injections and blood draws.
The team led by Roger Narayan have created fine hollow needles by using two-photon polymerization that the patients wouldn't feel them piercing into their skin.
These microneedles, clustered together on a patch, can deliver drugs or draw blood efficiently as standard hypodermic needles.
"Microneedles may be integrated with micropumps and biosensors to provide autonomous sampling of blood, analysis, and drug-delivery capabilities for treatment of chronic disease," said Narayan.
"For example, one needle, pump and sensor unit would assay the glucose level in interstitial fluid of patients with diabetes mellitus. Another needle, pump and drug-delivery unit would deliver insulin in a continuous or programmed manner," he added.
These breakage resistant needles are made up of two-photon polymerization of organically modified ceramic (Ormocer) hybrid materials.
These hybrid needles can also be made in wide range of sizes than those made with traditional micro-fabrication techniques.
Narayan believes that people receiving frequent injections or blood monitoring will benefit the most with this technique.
The findings appear in International Journal of Applied Ceramic Technology.