Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Technology
Networks
Scientific Communities
 
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 4,700+ 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
Major Cystic Fibrosis Breakthrough
Combination of ivacaftor with lumicaftor improves lung function and reduces patients hospitalizations.
Thursday, June 26, 2014
£2.25 Million Trial for Vascular Dementia Treatment
Researchers aim to find out if a drug for blood pressure could be effective in treating vascular dementia in a new £2.25million clinical trial.
Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Scientific News
Open Source Seed Initiative – A Welcome Boost to Global Crop Breeding
A team of plant breeders, farmers, non-profit agencies, seed advocates, and policymakers have created the Open Source Seed Initiative.
ASMS 2016: Targeting Mass Spectrometry Tools for the Masses
The expanding application range of MS in life sciences, food, energy, and health sciences research was highlighted at this year's ASMS meeting in San Antonio, Texas.
Implementation Science Approaches to Reduce Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission
The NIH study will investigate best practices to ease major disease burden in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Tough New Hydrogel Hybrid Doesn’t Dry Out
Water-based material could be used to make artificial skin, longer-lasting contact lenses.
New CAR T Cell Therapy Using Double Target Aimed at Solid Tumors
Researchers at Penn University have described how antibody, carbohydrate combination could apply to range of cancer types.
Lasers Carve the Path to Tissue Engineering
A new technique, developed at EPFL, combines microfluidics and lasers to guide cells in 3D space, overcoming major limitations to tissue engineering.
Link Between Canned Food, BPA Exposure Revealed
New Stanford research resolves the debate on the link between canned food and exposure to the hormone-disrupting chemical known as Bisphenol A, or BPA.
Portable Test Rapidly Detects Zika
To better diagnose and track the disease, scientists are now reporting a new $2 test that in the lab can accurately detect low levels of the virus in saliva.
Erasing Unpleasant Memories with a Genetic Switch
Researchers from KU Leuven and the Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology have managed to erase unpleasant memories in mice using a 'genetic switch'.
Unidentified Spectra Detector
New algorithm clusters over 250 million spectra for analysis, such that millions of unidentified peptide sequences can be recognised.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
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
4,700+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!