This technology is a novel method of fabricating micro-needles which allows, for the first time, high volume, affordable production of high quality tapered hollow metallic micro-needle arrays using conventional UV lithography.
Currently, the prevalent transdermal drug delivery method is through the syringe and the hypodermic needle. Most patients (especially children) shy away from an injection that requires a perforation of the skin by a hypodermic needle due to the pain experienced as part of the procedure. Further, many elective “cosmeceutical” procedures require the repeated injection of various compounds at multiple locations in the targeted area. Micro needles are a relatively painless alternative for injecting drugs and vaccines into the body and for extracting fluids from the body, and therefore represent a minimally invasive (and minimally painful) tool for transdermal drug delivery or body fluid sampling.
With extended applications, the world-wide market for micro-needles is estimated to be $372 million by 2010. The transdermal industry segment under which the micro-needle falls is growing at 20% per annum.
Micro-needles are a fairly new technology. Current manufacturing technologies include Bulk Silicon Etching, LIGA, and Deep Reactive ION etching. Limitations of the currently available manufacturing processes include the use of toxic and/or hazardous materials, need for advanced micro-fabrication facilities, manufacturing complexity, low volume and/or relatively high production expense.
· First low-cost, easily scalable method for producing microneedle arrays
· Does not require micro-fabrication facilities
· Does not require use of toxic and/or hazardous materials
· US Patent No. 7,627,938 Issued 12/8/2009
- Jeong-Bong Lee, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering, The University of Texas at Dallas
- Kabseog Kim, Graduate Student of Electrical Engineering, The University of Texas at Dallas