Print 13 comment(s) - last by sdsdv10.. on Sep 12 at 10:25 AM

Technology similar to that used in Hewlett-Packard inkjet printers used to deliver medications to patients

Researchers at Hewlett-Packard have developed a patch that uses thermal ink jet technology from printers to administer drugs to patients. Dermal patches as drug administration devices are certainly nothing new, but the method HP has developed is new.

The patch uses micro needles to inject drugs below the skin of a patient and has the ability to be programmed to control the exact amount of medication delivered to a patient. The patch can also be programmed to deliver doses on a specific time schedule.

Current dermal medication delivery devices rely on placing drugs into a substrate that can be absorbed through the skin. This method doesn’t work for all types of medications, and there is no method of precise control for current dermal medication delivery patches.

The medical patch uses a material that expands when heated, thereby delivering the medication through the micro needles. Lim Eng Hann, associate director of intellectual property licensing at HP told PC World, “the microneedles do penetrate the skin, but they are designed so that they don’t penetrate deep enough to impact the nerves.”

When equipped with basic electronics and a power source the patch measures about 2.5-square centimeters and is 3-millimeters thick and is covered with approximately 400 to 1000 microneedles.

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This is some nice technology, but...
By daftrok on 9/11/2007 8:19:29 PM , Rating: 2
Wouldn't it be quicker (and a lot cheaper) to just inject medication with a needle? I only see this application necessary for those that are physically/mentally incapable to admister their own drugs, but if that was the case they more than likely have someone taking care of them, and can administer the medication via a needle for them anyways. But still, I'd never think that printing technology and microneedle injections coincided, who knew?

By soydios on 9/11/2007 8:43:12 PM , Rating: 2
You know all those medications that are available in patch form? This method lets you get bigger molecules through the skin.

RE: This is some nice technology, but...
By altintx on 9/11/2007 9:12:09 PM , Rating: 4
It would be cheaper, sure. But a lot of advancement is due to convenience, not price. A patch you apply for a day or two is certainly easier than forcing an injection each day or multiple times a day.

I'm a diabetic. I have an insulin pump now, which nullifies need, but a year ago, had a patch been available to disperse a continuous stream of insulin during the day, it would have been an improvement over regular injections. A normally functioning body does not queue up medicine (well, not medicine but...) and release it in one burst. It releases it as its produced, or as its needed. A continuous distribution is closer to how your body operates. That's something that a syringe-based injection cannot due. And so there is at least one potential improvement this technology enables.

By eli2k on 9/11/2007 10:29:19 PM , Rating: 2
I agree. This would be a very nice way for time-delayed drug release, or releasing drugs over a slow period of time without having to pass through the stomach.

By Gatt on 9/11/2007 11:34:44 PM , Rating: 3
The point is controlled administration, not cost. There's no control of the rate at which a med is absorbed through dermal patches, and a standard injection places a resivior of medication into tissue, at which point there's no control of the rate of absorbtion.

This provides more control of the rate of absorbtion, allows for long term delivery of medication that is normally delivered "All at once" every X hours, and allows normally dermal-undeliverable medications to be deliverable.

Drugs Dot Com
By Screwuhippie on 9/12/2007 9:14:15 AM , Rating: 3
I'm waiting for the day I can print my drugs on my inkjet!

---> Double Click Here for your Viagra! Enhance your internet porn experience! <---

RE: Drugs Dot Com
By Chadder007 on 9/12/2007 10:20:41 AM , Rating: 2
Pop-Up ads on the skin = FTL

RE: Drugs Dot Com
By sdsdv10 on 9/12/2007 10:25:26 AM , Rating: 2
LOL, good one!

Cool but....
By Hotdogah on 9/12/2007 2:03:44 AM , Rating: 2
We think its expensive to clean printer heads now! How about this hp thing plugging up.

RE: Cool but....
By Cubexco on 9/12/2007 7:53:52 AM , Rating: 2
Imagine "overdose" when "priming" this to clear the clogged needles! ;)

RE: Cool but....
By marvdmartian on 9/12/2007 9:14:17 AM , Rating: 2
Heh, when I first read the article title, I'm thinking, "Dang, wouldn't it suck to be having a heart attack, and realize your medication printer ran low on the glycerin you need to keep yourself from dying??"

Please load fresh medication cartridge to continue....

By Kougar on 9/11/2007 8:23:38 PM , Rating: 2
...and is covered with approximately 400 to 1000 microneedles.

One needle vs 1,000? This is all a ploy to scare people into visiting their Doctors!

The next step for med injection
By bradmn on 9/12/2007 12:15:56 AM , Rating: 2
The next step would be to have a feedback system that would automatically inject the necessary medication at a predetermined level. For example, when a person's blood sugar got too high the patch would automatically inject the required dose of insulin. (Current research is trying to develop a way to test blood sugar without finger sticks). Patients can also use this to self-inject pain medication when the pain level gets too high. (The current technology is a pump and IV setup). This can be a wonderful new technology.

There was also a recent posting about about using this technology to make new tissue/organs.

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