June 21, 2022

Novel Microneedle Offers New Future for Drug Delivery

If needles or things interacting with eyes sounds unsettling, you might want to stop reading because this article will delve deep into needles, as well as needles being inserted into the ocular organ.

Medical science is as awe-inspiring as it is odd: some medicines need to be directly injected into your eye in order to treat certain illnesses. This process is obviously not without risk as many complications can arise, such as damaging the jelly-like tissue around the injection site, or incurring a possible infection.

However, an international team of scientists from the Terasaki Institute for Biomedical Innovation in Los Angeles, California have developed a microneedle that can safely deliver therapeutic drugs into eyes via the retina, while also patching the hole it creates from insertion.

The single-use needles – which remain in the eye and eventually biodegrade – can also be created with treatment-specific lengths and fineness to both ensure accurate medication delivery and reduce puncture size.

Dr Ali Khademhosseini, co-lead on the study, said: “This novel improvement in drug delivery treatment can avoid problems associated with using needles to treat serious eye diseases.”

Tests were conducted over several days using cultured pig and rabbit eyeballs with purple dye-loaded needles. Through this process, they discovered that there was no needle deformation, the payload reached saturation in relation to needle length, and there was no leakage, inflammation or tissue damage at the application site.

Animal testing has proven promising, but human trials – which are notorious for taking a long time – ought to produce “eye-opening” results.

Until then, keep your eyes peeled!