Washington: An assistant professor has created a flexible microneedle patch, which allows drugs to be delivered directly and fully through the skin.
The new patch can quicken drug delivery time while cutting waste, and can likely minimize side-effects in some cases, notable in vaccinations and cancer therapy.
Leading development of the flexible patch was Lissett Bickford, now an assistant professor and researcher of biomedical engineering and the mechanical engineering, both part of the Virginia Tech College of Engineering.
Microneedle patch technology used on the skin has existed for several years, each patch containing an array of hundreds of micron-sized needles that pierce the skin and dissolve, delivering embedded therapeutics.
Bickford, with her research team, including Chapel Hill graduate student Katherine A. Moga, were able to develop a new flexible microneedle patch that forms to the skin directly - think a regular household bandage - and then fully pierces the skin and dissolves.
Bickford said the softer, more malleable and water-soluble material also allows for more precise control over the shape, size, and composition of the patch, with little to no waste.
The study has been published in the scientific journal, Advanced Materials.