Researchers have developed 3D printed micro-needles capable of delivering medicinal drugs in the body without causing any pain, offering treatments for a wide range of diseases, including skin cancers.
A new technique would allow drugs to diffuse within the body as the biomaterial device degrades in the body.
This offers treatments for a wide range of diseases, including melanoma cancers, researchers said.
The researchers, based at the University of Akron and the University of Texas in US report producing a drug-loaded array for transdermal delivery of a chemotherapeutic drug, fabricated using microstereolithography.
The arrays consisted of 25 poly(propylene fumarate) micro-needles, each needle having a tip and base diameter of 20 micrometre and 200 micrometre respectively, and a height of 1 millimetre.
“3D printing this array was difficult, as the printable biomaterial contains some non-printable solvents and drugs,” said said Jae-Won Choi, an author on the research paper published in the journal Biofabrication.
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 said.
“I’d hope we’ll see this being used clinically in 5-10 years,” Choi said.