Wednesday 26 April 2023

Painless patch uses ultrasound to deliver drugs through the skin


MIT scientists have developed a new wearable patch that can deliver drugs through the skin more efficiently and painlessly. The device uses pulses of ultrasound to pry open the skin, which could improve topical medications or even tattoos.

Many drugs are administered either orally or intravenously, but the former requires larger doses, the latter is unpleasant, and both are hard to direct to specific areas. For the new study, the MIT team wanted to develop a way to deliver drugs through the skin, straight to where they need to be.

The team calls the system a Conformable Ultrasound Sonophoresis Patch (cUSP), and it’s contained in a hydrogel that sticks to the wearer’s skin. Inside the patch are four transducers connected by copper traces to conduct electricity. Above each transducer is a cavity containing the drug molecules dissolved in a liquid, and when the transducers receive power, they vibrate and create bubbles in the liquid. This in turn creates microjets of fluid that fire through the tough outer layer of skin.

The researchers tested the system on samples of pig skin, delivering a type of vitamin B called niacinamide, which is used in many sunscreens and moisturizers. They found that cUSP was able to send 26 times more drug molecules through the skin than a patch without the aid of ultrasound.

They also compared it to another emerging method of painless drug delivery – microneedle patches, which contain tiny freeze-dried spikes of a drug that penetrate the skin and dissolve. The ultrasound patch was able to deliver its payload of niacinamide in 30 minutes, while the microneedle patch took six hours to deliver the same amount.

The researchers say that this technique could be particularly useful for delivering drugs to treat skin conditions such as burns, skin cancer or symptoms of aging. With more refinement the system could send payloads deeper to reach the bloodstream such as fentanyl, or hormones like insulin or progesterone. It might even eventually help apply tattoos painlessly.

‘The ease-of-use and high-repeatability offered by this system provides a game-changing alternative to patients and consumers suffering from skin conditions and premature skin aging,” said Canan Dagdeviren, senior author of the study. “Delivering drugs this way could offer less systemic toxicity and is more local, comfortable, and controllable.”

The research was published in the journal Advanced Materials. The team describes the work in the video below.

Source: MIT

No comments:

Post a Comment