August 19, 2008 Singapore’s A*STAR continues to put the country on the technology map, this time with the news that the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE) has perfected an innovative range of microneedles that can be mass produced more readily and at a much lower cost than current microneedle technologies. The microneedles can be made from plastics as well as conventional materials such as silicon and metal and offer unique structures for better drug delivery. Microneedles are a fraction of the size of hypodermic needles and hence can penetrate the skin enough to deliver the medicine (or extract bodily fluids) but miss the nerve receptors so they induce no pain. Combined with the appropriate electronics, they can be worn as a skin patch, for regular doses of drugs to be delivered automatically to patients.
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