A new 3D technique, using a 3D micro-printed array of needles has been developed by the team of US researchers. The 3D-needles can be used to inject drug without causing any pain, hence providing as a potential alternative to the current system of painful injections.
The device can be used to treat many diseases, including chemotherapy drugs for skin cancers and, with the special biomaterial used in its needle production-it is degradable in the patient’s body after delivering the drug.
In this study, the researchers reported producing a drug-loaded array for transdermal delivery of a chemotherapeutic drug where the drug is administered through the skin.
The arrays consist of 25 poly (propylene fumarate) microneedles, each needle having a tip and base diametre of 20 micrometre and 200 micrometre, respectively, and a height of one mm.
Constructing the array was challenging, said one of the study authors Jae-Won Choi from University of Akron in Ohio, US.
“3D printing this array was difficult, as the printable biomaterial contains some non-printable solvents and drugs,” Choi noted.
Dacarbazine, commonly used to treat skin cancer, was blended into the solution prior to crosslinking (a final part of the 3D printing process).
The needles were then tested and shown to be able to withstand the stresses and strains they would likely be submitted to when inserted into the body.
“We’d like to have a faster drug release, but this will require more material research. Once we improve this process we can look at developing more controlled drug release,” Choi noted.
“I would hope we will see this being used clinically in five-10 years” he noted.
The results were published in the journal Biofabrication.