New Vaccine Patch Promises Painless Injections

Microneedles dissolve just 0.5 millimeters into skin
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 4, 2010 9:11 AM CST
New Vaccine Patch Promises Painless Injections
You may never need to be stuck with a needle again, kid.   (AP Photo/MTI, Attila Balazs)

(Newser) – The needle-based vaccine could soon go the way of the 8-track, thanks to a new, painless vaccine “chip” invented by a Japanese pharmacokinetics professor. The half-inch patch can contain as many as 300 microneedles, but you won’t feel them—they dissolve after penetrating just 0.5 millimeters into the skin. “People are not frightened of having the injection because they feel nothing at all,” inventor Kanji Takada boasts in the Daily Telegraph.

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Pharmacokinetics experts, who study the absorption of substances in the body, have been experimenting with microneedles for a while, but past attempts have all failed because they used needles made out of sugar, which can’t withstand high temperatures. Takada’s needles are instead made of a water-soluble polymer that dissolves on contact with the outer layer of skin. The patches could be in Japanese hospitals within two years. (Read more vaccine stories.)

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