Micro-needle Plasters

My previous post was on the success of research for finding a vaccine for the Hepatitis-C virus, this posts looks into a new way to prevent Hep-C along with other blood transmitted diseases in a magnificent way.

Since using sharp, medical needles are risky and have been a transmitter of diseases, when used incorrectly; it’s suggested that healthcare professionals use the needle only once and with the correct procedure and is disposed of safely. But there’s also an alternative option, which is much safer and painless. Micro needles affixed to plaster are painless and safe to administer and they don’t get through to the nerves, which almost gives a Velcro-like texture. The micro-needles are made of soft contact lens like material and at their dry state, the needles are hard and can penetrate the skin (50 microns) and once in the skin, can rapidly take up fluid from the interstitial fluid, into the micro-needles, and swell.

Our interstitial fluid is in sync with our blood so whatever the concentration of a certain drug is within the blood stream, it will be found to be the same within the interstitial fluid.

Definition: Interstitial fluid (or tissue fluid) is a solution that bathes and surrounds the cells of multicellular animals. It is the main component of the extracellular fluid, which also includes plasma and transcellular fluid. The interstitial fluid is found in the interstitial spaces, also known as the tissue spaces.

This method allows blood free patient monitoring. Micro-needles on the plaster become soft after removal from skin and therefore minimises risk of needle stick injury which can lead to contamination with HIV, AIDS and Hep C. The plaster is then placed in a test tube containing distilled water where the interstitial fluid that was taken up into the micro-needles merges into the water and tests can be performed on the solution, a blood-free blood test.

Dr Ryan Donnelly has been working in the Queens University laboratory to find a way to administer drugs via micro needles, which he sees is a good way to give the correct dosages of drugs to early-born infants and at the same time a pain-free method.

Dr Donnelly has also been contacted by other scientists who want to cooperate t find a way to incorporate this new technique into vaccinations, insulin for diabetics and even in the cosmetics industry.

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