Friday, 25 May 2012

Get rid of needles!

The device fires a jet of the drug which breaches the skin.
Image courtesy of the MIT BioInstrumentation Lab
There are many among us who are scared of needles. Your woes may end in the near future.

Researchers at MIT have developed a device which can deliver drugs inside the skin in the form of a high-pressured jet WITHOUT the use of a hypodermic needle.

Moreover, the device can inject the drug in a range of doses and upto various depths.

Several jet-injection systems are available, but their drawback is that the amount of dosage and depth cannot be varied.

Other non-needle mechanisms like nicotine patches can only release molecules whose size is less than the skin's pores.
“Commercially available jet injectors … provide limited control, which limits their applications to certain drugs or patient populations,” Mitragotri (a professor of chemical engineering at the University of California at Santa Barbara) says. “[This] design provides excellent control over jet parameters, including speed and doses … this will enhance the applicability of needleless drug devices.”


The design is built around a small, powerful magnet surrounded by a coil of wire that’s attached to a piston inside a drug ampoule.

When current is applied, it interacts with the magnetic field to produce a force that pushes the piston forward, ejecting the drug at very high pressure and velocity (almost the speed of sound in air) out through the ampoule’s nozzle — an opening as wide as a mosquito’s proboscis.

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