MIT develops wearable patch that painlessly delivers drugs from the skin
Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a new wearable patch that can more effectively and painlessly deliver drugs through the skin. The patch uses ultrasound pulses to pry open the skin, improving topical medication and even tattoos.
Many drugs are given orally or intravenously, but the former requires larger doses, the latter is uncomfortable to use, and both are difficult to target specific areas, so the MIT team wants to develop a method of delivering drugs through the skin, directly to where they are needed .
The system, which the team calls the “formable ultrasound patch” (cUSP), consists of a hydrogel that adheres to the wearer’s skin. Inside the patch are four transducers connected by copper wires that conduct electricity. Above each transducer is a cavity containing drug molecules dissolved in a liquid. When the transducer receives power, it vibrates and creates bubbles in the liquid, which in turn generate microjets of the liquid that shoot through the tough The outer layer of skin.
The researchers tested the system on samples of pig skin, delivering the B vitamin Nicotinamide, a vitamin commonly used in sunscreens and moisturizers. They found that without the help of ultrasound, the cUSP delivered 26 times more drug molecules through the skin than the patch.
They also compared it with another painless drug delivery method, the “microneedle patch”. The ultrasonic patch can release niacinamide within 30 minutes, and the microneedle patch takes 6 hours to release the same amount.
The researchers point out that the new technology could help treat skin conditions such as burns, skin cancer or symptoms of aging. It can also be sent deeper to reach blood vessels, hormones such as fentanyl (Fentanyl), insulin or progesterone, and even painless tattoos.
Canan Dagdeviren, the senior author of the study, believes that the ease of use and high reproducibility of the new system provides an alternative for skin patients and patients with premature skin aging, providing less systemic toxicity, and more localized, comfortable and controllable use.