Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
RNAi
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Drug Testing without the Pain at Queen’s

Published: Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Last Updated: Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Microneedles on a sticking-plaster-like patch may be the painless and safe way doctors will test for drugs and some infections in the future.

Samples of the rough, absorbent patches are being tested in the laboratories at Queen’s by award-winning researcher, Dr Ryan Donnelly.

The experiments are showing that the forest of tiny polymer needles on the underside of the patch, when pressed into the skin, can absorb the fluid in the surface tissue, taking up at the same time the salts, fatty acids and other biological molecules found there as well.

“The important thing is that we typically find the same compounds in this interstitial fluid as you would find in the blood,” Dr Donnelly explains. “But, compared with drawing blood, our patches can get their samples in a minimally invasive way. And it’s far safer than using a conventional needle. These microneedles, once they have been used, become softened, so that there’s no danger of dirty needles transferring infection to another patient, or one of the healthcare workers. Two million healthcare workers are infected by needlestick injuries every year.”

The microneedle sampling technique is a development of earlier and ongoing experiments using similar patches to deliver drugs and vaccines painlessly – the sensation when they are pressed onto the skin is a bit like the roughness of Velcro, Dr Donnelly reports.

The microneedles are made of polymer gel – similar to the material used in superabsorbent nappies. For their original, injecting function, they are pre-loaded with vaccine or drug compounds that will be released into the skin on contact with the interstitial fluid.

But the flow can go both ways. So that for the sampling variants, the backing material can be made chemically attractive to target compounds, encouraging them to diffuse into the gel with interstitial fluid drawn out of the skin and locking them in place for later analysis. Real-time monitoring could be a realistic option in the future and might involve combining the microneedle technology with simple laser-based detection (“SERS”) of drug compounds inside the gel. The group already has proof-of-concept for this idea and are now looking to extend the range of drug concentrations that can be detected in this manner. Electrochemical detection is another attractive possibility that might allow patients to use the technology in their own homes. If connected wirelessly to their healthcare provider, they could then have their medicines or doses changed based on the microneedle readings, both enhancing patient care and saving NHS resources.

Children’s charity Action Medical Research, through a generous donation from The Henry Smith Charity, is now funding Dr Donnelly to develop the minimally-invasive microneedle sampling technology for monitoring therapeutic drug levels in babies.

“Premature babies have very limited blood volumes and are prone to bruising and scarring when blood samples are taken,” Dr Caroline Johnston, Research Evaluation Manager at Action Medical Research for children explains. “There is a real need for a safe, reliable and painless way to monitor these babies’ drug levels, and these microneedles are so far proving to have all the right characteristics.”

The group is currently in discussions with a major medical manufacturer with a view to producing prototype commercial devices, the first stage ahead of full clinical trials.


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,200+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,600+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Big Data Can Save Lives
The sharing of genetic information from millions of cancer patients around the world could be key to revolutionising cancer prevention and care, according to a leading cancer expert from Queen's University Belfast.
Tuesday, May 17, 2016
Bowel Cancer Breakthrough May Benefit Thousands of Patients
Researchers at Queen’s University have discovered how two genes cause bowel cancer cells to become resistant to treatments used against the disease.
Monday, July 21, 2014
Scientific News
Fix for 3-Billion-Year-Old Genetic Error
Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a fix that allows RNA to accurately proofread for the first time.
Revealing the Genetic Causes of Bowel Cancer
A landmark study has given the most detailed picture yet of the genetics of bowel cancer — the UK's fourth most common cancer.
Self-Assembling Protein Shell for Drug Delivery
Made-to-order nano-cages open possibilities of shipping cargo into living cells or fashioning small chemical reactors.
Fighting Resistant Blood Cancer Cells
Biologists present new findings on chronic myeloid leukemia and possible therapeutic approaches.
Tumor Cells Develop Predictable Characteristics
Scientists have discovered that cancer cells at the edge of a tumor that are close to the surrounding environment are predictably different from the cells within the interior of the tumor.
Guided Chemotherapy Missiles
Latching chemotherapy drugs onto proteins that seek out tumors could provide a new way of treating tumors in the brain or with limited blood supply that are hard to reach with traditional chemotherapy.
Solutions for Biotherapeutic Characterization
Innovation to speed the routine.
What Makes a Good Scientist?
It’s the journey, not just the destination that counts as a scientist when conducting research.
Biomarkers That Could Help Give Cancer Patients Better Survival Estimates Discovered
UCLA research may also help scientists suppress dangerous genetic sequences.
Body’s Own Gene Editing System Generates Leukemia Stem Cells
Inhibiting the editing enzyme may provide a new therapeutic approach for blood cancers.
SELECTBIO

SELECTBIO Market Reports
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,200+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,600+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!