Who actually enjoys going to the doctors office and getting shots? That’s right — no one. Or, at least no one we know. What if the needles were so tiny, however, that when they broke through the skin, you couldn’t feel any pain? Needles so small, they were only a tenth the width of the average human hair? It sounds impossible, but it’s not, thanks to a team of bioengineers from Tufts University.
The new micro-needles are made from the major protein in silk, fibroin, according to the Tufts Now. Just 500 microns tall and 10 microns wide, the needles are too short to reach the nerves under the skin, so drugs are delivered without the pain of a traditional shot. What’s better, is that they can gradually release medication over time, which could only previously be done with certain kinds of medication.
Based on work supported in part by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, the U.S. Army Research Office, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency-Defense Sciences Office and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the needles don’t need to be refrigerated. They can be fabricated under normal temperatures, and are also both biodegradable and biocompatible.
Really, though, we’re just happy we can go to the doctors office without crying (or passing out, in my case). Soon, enough, the process could be as smooth as silk. For a look at the full report, click here.
Photo Courtesy of Times Union