Pharma Focus Asia

Painless Needle-free Injections - Micro-Jets

Injections will be pain free with Micro-Jets, a novel injector system, a needle-free drug delivery system developed by a team of researchers from University of California in collaboration with StratGent Life Sciences. This novel needle-free injection would increase patient comfort while eliminating the risk to healthcare workers from needle-stick injuries by delivering macromolecules such as protein therapeutics and vaccines without the need for a needle.

Working around the standard needle-free liquid jet injectors to delivering drugs, which cause pain and bruises to the patients due to the deep penetration of the drug jets into the skin, the micro-jets injectors use pulsed micro-jets to deliver very small volumes of the drug at very high speeds at minimal depths. The device consists of a chamber to hold the drug solution and is connected to nozzle with a final diameter of 50-100 micrometers. A piston backed up by a piezoelectric crystal is fitted to the piston and moves when on the application of a voltage pulse releasing the drug in small jets penetrating the skin. The pulsed micro-jets injector expels the drug in volumes of 2-15 nanolitres per pulse at over 100 metres per second.

Based on the requirements the drug dose can be delivered mimicking a standard injection or a conventional transdermal delivery system by slowly releasing the drug over a period of time. Further, multiple nozzles can be incorporated into the device to administer higher doses. Though no adverse side effects were observed with this device, the team says that further research will determine if current drugs are to be reformulated in order to be delivered using this device.

The team claims that the device has many potential applications such as systemic programmable delivery of drugs, delivery of small drug doses and precise local delivery to treat acne or cold sores. However, the product is not ready for market and further development is underway to develop the product for releasing in the needle-free injection market estimated to touch $3bn by 2010 where this novel micro-jet injection device could open other options.

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