Ceramic Hybrid Shots Take the Sting Out of NeedlesPublished on June 8th, 2009 | By: Peter Wray
January 7, 2008
WESTERVILLE, OHIO – New polymerization technology may one day take the pain out of
injections and blood draws. A team of researchers at the University of
North Carolina and Laser Zentrum Hannover have recently used two-photon
polymerization to create hollow needles so fine patients wouldn’t feel
them piercing their skin. Clustered together on a patch, these
microneedles can deliver drugs or draw blood efficiently as standard
hypodermic needles. These findings are reported in the International
Journal of Applied Ceramic Technology.
Developing a way to deliver drugs intravenously with minimal pain
and trauma, by someone without medical expertise, has long been a
mission of biomedical engineers. Until recently, their most promising
product had been stainless steel and titanium microneedles. These metal
microneedles, though, are prone to break on impact with skin.
Researchers led by Roger Narayan, MD, PhD, of the University of
North Carolina , used two-photon polymerization of organically modified
ceramic (Ormocer®) hybrid materials to create microneedles resistant to
breakage. Another benefit of the hybrid needles is that they can be
made in a wider range of sizes than those made with conventional
The first patients Narayan imagines will benefit from his technique
are those who require frequent injections or blood monitoring.
“Microneedles may be integrated with micropumps and biosensors
to provide autonomous sampling of blood, analysis, and drug-delivery
capabilities for treatment of chronic disease,” he said. “For example,
one needle, pump and sensor unit would assay the glucose level in
interstitial fluid of patients with diabetes mellitus. Another needle,
pump and drug-delivery unit would deliver insulin in a continuous or
This study is published in the International Journal of Applied
Ceramic Technology. Media wishing to receive a PDF of this article may
To view the abstract for this article, please click here.
Roger Narayan is affiliated with the Joint Department of Biomedical
Engineering at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and can
be reached for questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
on behalf of the American Ceramic Society, the International Journal of
Applied Ceramic Technology publishes cutting-edge applied research and
development work focused on commercialization of engineered ceramics,
products and processes.
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