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Microneedles: Taking the pain out of injections

Microneedles: Taking the pain out of injections. Ryan Donnelly
Professor Ryan Donnelly with an enlarged model of the microneedles. Image: Tim Gander
Professor Ryan Donnelly with an enlarged model of the microneedles. Image: Tim Gander

The team

From Queen’s University Belfast:

  • Professor Ryan Donnelly
  • Dr Maelíosa Mc Crudden
  • Dr Claire Dewhirst

The science behind the exhibit

We have developed a novel type of transdermal patch that by-passes the skin’s barrier. On its surface are many tiny needles that pierce the skin without causing any pain or bleeding – the sensation feels rough, like a cat’s tongue or Velcro. These needles then swell, turning into a jelly-like material that keeps the holes open and allows continuous delivery of medicines or vaccines. These swellable microneedles can also extract fluid from the skin for patient monitoring purposes. Our technology is unique and could potentially revolutionise delivery of medicines and vaccines and patient monitoring without the risks associated with conventional needles.

About the exhibit

  • A projected animation of how microneedles are made and used – to comprehensively explain the theory behind our microneedles in an accessible and novel way
  • Running of our popular YouTube video (see below)
  • An interactive model allowing visitors to visualise a microneedle array and the skin on a very large scale
  • A hands-on "experimentation bench" illustrating how microneedles are inserted into skin, represented by pieces of fruit

Video

How do microneedles deliver drugs?  

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Images

These images are protected by copyright law and may be used with acknowledgement.

Antibiotic hunters

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