A recent breakthrough in the medical field may soon eliminate the need for hypodermic needles in drug administration.
In a study conducted by MIT, researchers found that transdermal drug delivery is more effective with the use of ultrasound waves. This finding is based on an experiment done on pig skin wherein a combination of high and low frequency waves were employed to remove the superficial layer of the skin before proceeding to insulin and glucose transdermal application. Results showed that the drugs were able to seep into the skin more effectively, specifically 4x easier with insulin and 10x easier with glucose.
While transdermal drug delivery is not new in the field, this method of drug administration is still tainted with several disadvantages which apparently called the attention of the MIT research team. The skin-to-bloodstream route offers a painless and more controlled release of drugs but the size of the pores through which the medication passes may limit its overall permeability. This prompted the team to develop a much-improved methodology.
The skin is exposed to ultrasonic waves that produce bubbles in the solution. Once they become bigger and eventually unstable, these bubbles cave in, leaving space for fluid to occupy and producing microjets that scratch the skin.
Results may vary though depending on the kind of ultrasound wave used. MIT researchers have observed that high frequency waves are not powerful enough to cause the bubbles to burst while low frequency waves produce random abrasions. This dilemma was promptly addressed by combining both kinds of ultrasound waves so that the high frequency waves can create and contain the bubbles while the low frequency waves are left to burst them and consequently create abrasions on target skin areas. In turn, drug delivery is easier and far more accurate.
MIT deems that this discovery may prove to be of colossal value for diabetics who need regular insulin shots and other patients with conditions that require injectable treatments.