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Biotech Science

HP Skin Patch May Replace Needles 190

Posted by kdawson
from the you-may-feel-a-slight-pinch dept.
Iddo Genuth writes "HP and Crospon have developed a skin patch employing microneedles that barely penetrate the skin. The microneedles can replace conventional injections and deliver drugs through the skin without causing any pain. The skin patch technology also enables delivery of several drugs by one patch and the control of dosage and of administration time for each drug. It has the potential to be safer and more efficient than injections."
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HP Skin Patch May Replace Needles

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  • Well... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by F-3582 (996772)
    I'd like to see someone draw blood through one of those... Should get you the clearest serum ever.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Micro-needles have been part of science fiction for at least 15 years. In Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash [amazon.com] , one character has a sedative-filled needle implanted on her cervix in order to incapcitate a rapist.
    • one character has a sedative-filled needle implanted on her cervix in order to incapcitate a rapist.

      Wouldn't a cheese-grater be quicker?

      • To slow. Should go for the bear trap instead.
      • one character has a sedative-filled needle implanted on her cervix in order to incapcitate a rapist.

        Wouldn't a cheese-grater be quicker?

        It's a good joke but the truth is that the last thing a woman wants is for a rapist with a hard-on to become a rapist with a butchered cock. He'd kill her at that point. It's better to knock the guy out and get away rather than risk leaving him maimed and enraged. Once he's knocked out, of course, his victim would be free to do as she pleases with his junk. I'm thinking something like a spring-loaded bear trap but scaled down to work on the winky.

        • Guess you never read the book- and you need to it's required reading for slashdot >:|

          It wasn't some giant needle that would tear him to pieces, it was a MICRO needle filled with sedative that knocks him out for 6 hours or so. She forgets to take it out at one point and hilarity ensues- especially as her partner was an infamous terrorist assassin with a bad temper.
          • by Abreu (173023)
            And you need to work on your reading comprehension, by "butchered cock" he meant the cheesegrater thing, not the sedative needle.

            But its ok, it happens to the best of us.
          • Guess you never read the book- and you need to it's required reading for slashdot >:|

            It wasn't some giant needle that would tear him to pieces, it was a MICRO needle filled with sedative that knocks him out for 6 hours or so. She forgets to take it out at one point and hilarity ensues- especially as her partner was an infamous terrorist assassin with a bad temper.

            I've read Snowcrash. Also, the audiobook version is very good. I was just commenting on the cheese grater bit. Real life anti-rape inserts I've read about are less like cheese graters, more like apple slicers -- cylinder with razor blades tucked away inside. Dicks will check in but they won't check out. But again, it leaves the girl at the mercy of an enraged, mutilated rapist.

            As far as the visual image goes of that chick and Raven getting it on, it sounds like the story of the perv who showed up at an ER

    • by garbletext (669861) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @03:48AM (#21502089)
      Ah, yes. The Vagina Dentata. Making scary Freudian dreams come to life for over 15 years!

      For example: http://pbfcomics.com/?cid=PBF051-Zarflax.jpg [pbfcomics.com]
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by somersault (912633)
        http://www.rapestop.net/ [rapestop.net] got to wonder the type of person that would leave one of those in all the time
        • I know several police, and they're all terrified to be without a firearm, even off-duty or on furlough, sometimes going so far as to plan their vacations around which states have police gun treaties that will allow them to carry. Some people are just paranoid, I guess.

          Although I don't see how this thing will help, it seems like a bleeding dick would not incapacitate the attacker enough to prevent him from beating the shit out of his victim instead of raping her.
    • by RuBLed (995686)
      Implanting such thing into the cervix (or near its opening) is at the least very risky for the subject herself because when not sexually aroused there is almost no cavity present causing the subject to be injeected with the sedative unless she had some kind of antidote in her blood stream... oh wait.. this is /. ... no no.. forget what I said, I don't know anything about such things...
    • Wow! How'd we jump from needle-less drug administration to weaponized birth control devices?

      But, speaking of cyberpunk, these sound more like the slap patches and dots Molly used in Neuromancer for pain meds.

  • by garbletext (669861) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @03:44AM (#21502067)
    Finally, the most important star trek technology comes to the real world! Forget all that transporter, holodeck, or warp drive crap; we've got painless injections! woo!
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by selex (551564)
      Jet Injector. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jet_injector [wikipedia.org] Already exist. From what I heard from military people who had it used on them it f**king hurts.

      Now the question is HP? Really? The people who built my printer? And laptop? I guess that development of the inkjet has other applications.

      Selex

      Really?
      • They were pretty common in the 70's, I got more than a few vaccinations using them. Oddly enough, when I was in the Navy in the 80's I rarely saw them.
      • by jaweekes (938376)
        A company called "Powder Ject" has invented a syringe that doesn't use a needle. My brother worked on it for a few years, and even has his name on one of the patents [google.com]. It's completely painless and only uses a tenth of the dosage a normal syringe would use.

        I think Powder Ject has been purchased by another company, but I'm not sure which, and it was going to be released for this year's flu shot, although I haven't seen it yet.
      • Yeah it is the printer development, sending liquid through a very small needle is basically what a printer is.
  • If this patch is reusable it could become the method of choice for heroin addicts.

    On the other hand, it would be much safer than using needles.
    You can't really share these, I assume.
    • Only for the advanced addicts, I'd think. This is a subcutaneous injection, if I'm not mistaken, which heroin users only turn to after they've used up their veins (slower absorption, you see - not as intense or immediate).
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by phalse phace (454635)
      If it's anything like their inkjet cartridges, it won't be reusable (or cheap).
    • by djupedal (584558)
      The patch is DNA matched and will only dispense when coupled with the prescriptionee. In addition, the patch allows for cross-marketing opportunities where the clinic/pharmacy owners can also choose to dose the recipient with a compound triggering a Starbucks or Taco Bell purchase. "Mocha grande, please."
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Opportunist (166417)
      We're talking a printer manufacturer here. I bet those things have some kind of chip inside that makes dead sure you can't refill them.
      • by rbochan (827946)

        We're talking a printer manufacturer here. I bet those things have some kind of chip inside that makes dead sure you can't refill them.

        Yeah, and the replacements will cost 400 times what the original cost.

        • What I'd expect is a patch that has about 0.00001 ml of fluid in it that costs a buck and refils with 40ml each costing a few hundred bucks.
      • They also start popping up messages telling you that you are low on your medication cartridge levels six months before you actually run out.
  • by User 956 (568564) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @03:46AM (#21502077) Homepage
    The skin patch technology also enables delivery of several drugs by one patch and the control of dosage and of administration time for each drug.

    Excellent. So when does Soma come out?
    • Excellent. So when does Soma come out?

      It's out. Soma is the US trade name for the muscle relaxant Carisoprodol [wikipedia.org]. It's a particularly nice and powerful muscle relaxant/sedative. My mom and sister (both of whom have chronic back/neck and muscular pain) absolutely swear by it.

      I personally think it took great chutzpah by the manufacturer to use that name. :)

  • by Dr. Eggman (932300) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @03:48AM (#21502091)
    Last we heard [slashdot.org] this was in the prototype phase. Btw, the search function is terrible.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      I'm glad someone else noticed. Does anyone know if there is anything new in this post, or are we just rehashing old news?


      Oh, and next time just use Google (site:SlashDot.org "YourPhraseHere"), it is a thousand times easier.
      • Thats actually how I ended up finding it. Didn't get it from Slashdot's search on any of the phrases: "HP", "patch", "drugs", "microneedles", "printers", etc.
        • by Kimos (859729)
          You should have searched via the tagging (beta). Pretty same to assume that the old article was also tagged as "hypospray".
  • by Thanshin (1188877) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @03:53AM (#21502109)
    If this technology triumphs, the next addition should be sensors that control the release of chemicals taking the current situation into consideration.

    For example, a patch could sense the cardiac rhythm and control it chemically. Another could control blood sugar, etc.

    What I imagine is someone witnessing a car accident, taking four patches from his car's medikit putting them in different parts of the hurt person and calling an ambulance while the patches stabilize the patient.

    • by devjj (956776) *
      The lawyers are going to have a field day with that one.
    • by Ihlosi (895663) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @04:05AM (#21502147)
      If this technology triumphs, the next addition should be sensors that control the release of chemicals taking the current situation into consideration.



      No company wants to open that bag of liability issues. If your device makes medical decisions (instead of leaving them to a physician), you make yourself a big fat blinking glowing target for all sorts of legal trouble. Current example: Infusion pumps. While studies show that feedback-controlled infusion pumps lead to better patient outcomes, no company wants to make them because they don't want to get slapped with a multi-million-dollar lawsuit for the one patient in a thousand who thinks he might have had a better outcome with a standard infusion pump.

      • by Thanshin (1188877) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @04:17AM (#21502181)
        Ok, we need sensors in the patches and a better legal system that doesn't bind the minds and souls of men with ropes of fear.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by eth1 (94901)
          No, the patches just need to detect when they've been put on an ambulance chasing lawyer and release cyanide instead of their normal payload.
        • I thought the whole point of the corporate system was to protect us from the lawyers? For a product like this, you create a new corp, pay the profits out as dividends as soon as they come in, and if the lawyers ever get to you, they can only kill your corporate charter--they can't take the money you paid yourself while the lawsuits made their way through the courts.

          The first corporations allowed investors to finance ships to sail to America in search of gold, but stopped the lawyers from bankrupting the inv
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by kaizokuace (1082079)
      When you talk about administering chemicals according to the situation I think of the futuristic body armor suits in many sci-fi writings. Most recently in Mass Effect where your suit can have first aid upgrades that inject you with all sorts of stuff. I would like to see performance enhancing drugs administered. Maybe when adrenaline spikes in your body (from imminent car accident or even someone tries to attack you) some drugs that increase reaction times and pain killers or whatever get shot into your
    • by MtViewGuy (197597)
      I think the biggest user of these new patches will be diabetics, who can soon slap on a patch loaded with a pre-measured amoung of insulin for maybe 20-25 minutes and get an extremely precise dose of that insulin.
  • Tattoos (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Nefarious Wheel (628136) * on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @03:59AM (#21502123) Journal
    I could imagine instant tattoos -- patches with designs on them, subcutaneous injection of inks.

    Just add alcohol.

    • I could imagine instant tattoos -- patches with designs on them, subcutaneous injection of inks.

      Off-topic, but, tattoo technology *is* improving this year. Dye will be stored in small capsules, that can be burst open by laser and thus removed easily with a single laser treatment: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19845335/ [msn.com] So yes, maybe it'll be easier to get tattoos as well.
  • I just recently had my flu immunization. Those needles are small. I barely felt it. Is this really a pain reduction breakthrough?
    • It's a breakthrough for pussies.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Thanshin (1188877)

        It's a breakthrough for pussies.
        No, the needles are too small to go through the fur.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by garbletext (669861)

          No, the needles are too small to go through the fur.
          actually, I prefer them shaved
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by rts008 (812749)
            You prefer shaved cats? Man, that's kinky.
            How do you get the cat to hold still?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      It is estimated that about 10% of people (including me) have a phobia of needles (trypanophobia). For many people, this phobia is associated with a sudden drop in blood pressure, causing fainting and such, at the time of injection. I know that I am perfectly capable of being fairly calm before getting a shot, and generally don't feel terribly afraid, but will still end up nauseous and probably faint afterwards. So I'm interested in this not so much for the pain reduction, but because this probably wouldn't
    • by nahdude812 (88157) *
      From a pain perspective, I find it unlikely there'll be any real advancement here. You're right, certain shots have such tiny needles that most of the pain felt is actually imagined.

      It won't replace all needles. Blood drawing and intramuscular shots won't be able to be delivered this way, and they are definitely more painful than IV or subcutaneous shots. I doubt even IV shots would be replaceable with this.

      Also not even all subcutaneous shots can be administered with a small needle; some of them have a
      • Yep, I don't particularly like needles, but I know they don't particularly hurt when going in, only when it's getting taken back out. Of course the last few needles I've taken have been pretty large, for blood samples/giving blood, but even the small ones still feel like someone yanking a hair out :P
    • Those of us who deal with a fear of needles welcome tech like this with open arms. I had some rough experiences as a child (we'll leave it at that) which has made it difficult for me to handle any sort of needle - I can't even watch it on TV. It doesn't really hurt much at all, but the act of getting punctured by large needles (any needle I can see and feel the tip on is large to me) makes me stress out like nobody's business.

      Then you have to deal with needles that have been used (but sterilized) that h

    • by Avatar8 (748465)
      The pain from most shots is not necessarily from the delivery of the shot. Some, like Tetanus boosters, use large needles due to the syrupy nature of the drug and those DO hurt going in. You can stare down the bore of a tetanus needle.

      I think this breakthrough is dealing more with the after affects pain caused by the dermis having to repair itself from a "rip." Some people bruise, others develop a knot and most simply have a tender spot for 12-24 hours. Whereas the epidermis repairs quickly and painlessly

  • Stinging nettle (Score:4, Interesting)

    by lmpeters (892805) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @04:07AM (#21502159)

    This actually sounds kind of like how stinging nettle works. I recently touched some by accident, and I can assure you, the needles on the surface of that leaf are so small that I couldn't feel them at all.

    The cocktail of formic acid and histamines contained within the needles, on the other hand, were quite noticeable (ouch!). Of course, I'm assuming that HP is not planning to use this invention to deliver anything that's painful by design.

    • Of course, I'm assuming that HP is not planning to use this invention to deliver anything that's painful by design.



      Depends on what kind of government contracts they're getting. I bet some agencies out there are just drooling at the prospect of having ready-made, pre-packaged units of pain that do not leave any permanent marks or damage at their disposal.

    • The cocktail of formic acid and histamines contained within the needles, on the other hand, were quite noticeable (ouch!). Of course, I'm assuming that HP is not planning to use this invention to deliver anything that's painful by design.
      Have you used their drivers lately?
  • Back in 1998 I had surgery on one of my kidneys. Because theres usually a wait and you have to be at the hospital several hours before the surgery they tried this method of numbing my skin so it wouldn't hurt when they put the needles in. Basically all they did was put cream down and put a clear patch on top of it, needless to say it still hurt and was useless.
  • Beware (Score:4, Funny)

    by OpenSourced (323149) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @04:41AM (#21502247) Journal
    The new technology is similar to the technology employed in HP's patented process for its inkjet cartridges.

    I foresee scores of people walking around with the HP logo tattooed where the patch was. Later the advertising space will be sold to other companies. Attempts to sue will be stymied by the fact that the devices will come with an EULA that clearly states that your skin doesn't belong to you while using the device, and the device can leave residues there. You will be forced to accept the EULA or else die from your sickness, but HP's lawyers will insist that was you "free and informed decision".

    Just wait.

  • Types of injection (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Wilson_6500 (896824) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @04:45AM (#21502255)
    So this is great for stuff that you can put in subcutaneously. What about intravenous injections? What about intramuscular? Intraperitoneal? What about substances that are made up of large (several micron) particles, such as the sufur colloid injections used by nuclear medicine studies? Those could get stuck in superfine-gauge needles.

    I think it's a little premature to say that this patch will replace conventional injections entirely. It might seem obvious that a patch couldn't really hope to deliver injections into the muscles without penetrating all the layers of skin, but I think it at least bears mentioning.
    • Moreover, it will probably only work for very small volumes, so don't expect that technology to totally replace the good old needle. The only goal of this is to extend the range of medecines someone can inject himself whithout needing a nurse or special training.
      Classic patches, such as nicotine ones, work because the skin is porous to that chemical, so there are strong limitations to what can be done with them, but for a diabetic, it could be awesome: instead of injecting himself a large dose of insulin no
      • by parcel (145162)

        but for a diabetic, it could be awesome: instead of injecting himself a large dose of insulin now and then, he could use a patch and have his insulin slowly and regulary injected. Too much insulin, remove the patch for a couple of hours, too little, add a second one for a couple of hours. Simple, painless and safe.

        Now that they've stopped producing Exubera (well, will stop in 2 more months) it's great to hear about this kind of thing. I never really understood this (supposed? real?) consumer disinterest in inhaled insulin. Especially now starting back on injections, it was SO much easier with the inhaled stuff.

        Not even just for lack of pain - one of the biggest benefits, at least to me, was no longer having to take shots in the car with people walking by thinking i'm a heroin addict, or in a restaurant bathroom w

        • Keep calm, we (and I in particular, as a non-diabetic not working in healthcare) don't know if or when insulin patches will be produced. It was just that it was almost obviously the killer app for this kind of technology, and with the unfortunately huge potential market, I can't see why the big pharma corps won't invest in it in the next few years.
          • by parcel (145162)
            I know it's a ways off, but it's certainly still good news. Although Lilly is still going forward with their inhalable, I do wonder if it will meet the same fate. I don't mind going back to injections for a few years, it's just nice to not have all the eggs in one basket as far as alternative delivery goes.
      • by Muad'Dave (255648)
        I'd rather the insulin patch be smart enough to stop injecting when the blood glucose level is ok. Perhaps it could detect changes in perspiration under the patch or the optical qualities of the blood (like an O2 sat meter).
  • should be "...may replace canulas" (canulae?). A needle is something you use for sewing, but you use a canula for an injection.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by PCM2 (4486)
      Hypodermic needle. Hypo ("under") dermic ("the skin"). Pretty commonplace tool, actually. Cannulae, on the other hand, are used for IVs.
      • by quigonn (80360)
        No. It's a canula as soon as it's hollow. A hypodermic "needle" is just a special type of canula. And after all, luer tapers are pretty much standardized, and thus, canulae can be attached to both IVs and syringes.
  • Novelty? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by $pearhead (1021201)
    How is this microneedle-thing different, from eg. this [diva-portal.org]?
  • Hmmmmm (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Ya know, im not so sure that this is want i want. HP gets enough under my skin as it is ;)
  • Is HP turning back into the type of company it was decades ago?
  • Pretty much exactly this idea (completely with microscopic view of a prototype) was featured about a decade or so ago in Scientific American. (I think it was SciAm, anyway.) I don't recall who was working on the product at that time — I doubt it was HP, but I find myself wondering what's either different about this version (perhaps the system of propelling the drugs through the microneedles?) or why the other product hasn't appeared/taken off yet and, as a result, why this will do better.

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