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NUS Researchers Develop Novel Microneedle Patch

A research team, led by Dr. Kang Lifeng of the Department of Pharmacy at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Faculty of Science, has successfully invented a microneedles patch to let collagen go up to the dermis layer of the skin without any pain and respond faster.

The novel microneedles patch is intended to encapsulate lidocaine, a common painkiller, or collagen in the tiny polymeric needles attached to an adhesive patch and the microneedles deliver the drug or collagen rapidly into the skin without any discomfort to the user.

This easy to use drug delivery system could be used in clinics and in home care settings to administer painkiller non-invasively to patients. The system is very helpful for patients suffering from diabetes and cancer and is also helpful for cosmetic and skincare purposes to deliver collagen to inner skin layers.

The patch is able to deliver lidocaine within five minutes of application without causing any perceivable pain on the skin as the needle shafts are about 600 micro-meters in length. The size of patch can be easily adjusted with different drug dosages. This innovative patch could be used in pediatric applications too.

The microneedles patch also includes a reservoir system that can act as channels for drugs to be encapsulated in backing layers, circumventing the premature closure of miniaturised pores created by the microneedles. This facilitates continued drug permeation.

Delivering larger amount of lidocaine to permeate through the skin allows easy application of the patch easily thereby reducing the chances of patients developing skin irritation.

The research team intends to conduct clinical testing of the painkiller patch to further ascertain its effectiveness inclinical applications. The researchers have filed a patent for their technique through the NUS Industry Liaison Office, a part of NUS Enterprise.

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