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Medicine Technology

Vaccine Patch Removes Needle Pain 250

Posted by timothy
from the non-death-by-a-thousand-cuts dept.
wog777 writes "Researchers led by Mark Prausnitz of Georgia Institute of Technology reported their research on microneedles in Sunday's edition of Nature Medicine. A microneedle contains needles so small you don't even feel them. Attached to a patch like a Band-Aid, the little needles barely penetrate the skin before they dissolve and release their vaccine."
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Vaccine Patch Removes Needle Pain

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  • by level_headed_midwest (888889) on Sunday July 18, 2010 @09:50PM (#32946948)

    Immunizations are certainly the number one reason why children between the ages of about 9 months and six years hate going to the doctor and will kick and scream and flail as soon as they see anybody come into the exam room with a stethoscope. Vaccine patches would be great, particularly if they made it look like a sticker (which are second only to popsicles in the ability to placate an irritated youngster). Now if they'd only figure out a way to make looking in the ears and mouth easier, we'd be set!

  • Genius (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dunbal (464142) * on Sunday July 18, 2010 @09:51PM (#32946952)

    It is often said that true genius is coming up with the idea that makes everyone say "I could have thought of that".

    One of the problems with transdermal patches has always been one of controlling dosage. This is because the skin is only permeable to lipids, thanks to layers of keratin on the outside and the basement membrane lying inconveniently just before you get to any blood vessels. So anything that you needed to give your patient via the skin had to be fat-soluble, or it just wouldn't work. And then you have the problems of concentration gradients, skin thickness, how long you leave the patch on, and how "greasy" that person's natural skin is anyway. That makes for a lot of variables in delivery. Which means you can never be exactly sure of the dose.

    By piercing through the skin's outer layers into the dermis with a "microneedle", suddenly you've eliminated a few things: 1) You can deliver hydrophyllic substances (like certain viruses or their components, for example) and 2) you can control dosage much much more accurately because you can be sure that what you're delivering is going to make it to the bloodstream versus lying around in the epidermis and or never getting off the patch in the first place.

    I foresee that this technology will soon be used for much more than pediatric vaccine delivery and the creators will become very rich indeed. This doctor thinks it's a great idea. In fact the only problem is going to be for those allergic people - with previous patches all they would get is red skin, an itch, and maybe a localized rash. Now they risk a full blown type I allergic reaction.

  • Meh... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by epp_b (944299) on Sunday July 18, 2010 @10:00PM (#32946992)
    Let the kids suck it up. I did. It builds character.

    Now get off my lawn.
  • Re:Gee, thanks. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by demonlapin (527802) on Sunday July 18, 2010 @10:12PM (#32947062) Homepage Journal
    On behalf of physicians everywhere who treat kids, I'd like to advise you to go to hell for making your kids think of us as the punishment people. If you want to threaten them with pain, please threaten to do it yourself.
  • Re:Gee, thanks. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Main Gauche (881147) on Sunday July 18, 2010 @10:29PM (#32947140)

    And here I thought this story was about patients having thin skin...

  • by elucido (870205) * on Sunday July 18, 2010 @11:09PM (#32947310)

    Now people will be able to inject others with toxins and it will be impossible to detect it.
    What you have is a stealth needle, this idea in my opinion is incredibly dangerous, but I guess it will be good for mercenaries because it will reduce the costs.

    There is a reason why we can feel needles.

  • Re:Genius (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LastSaneMan (222217) on Monday July 19, 2010 @04:33AM (#32948588) Homepage

    That's pathetic. Suck it up and act like an adult.

    Now, does that work for all phobias, or just the ones you don't have?

  • by Ogive17 (691899) on Monday July 19, 2010 @06:24AM (#32948950)
    No, but I've thought about beating the shit out of someone who tried to drug me as a prank.
  • Re:Meh... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Pigeon451 (958201) on Monday July 19, 2010 @10:20AM (#32951410)

    Minor surgery without anesthesia also builds character. But I'd prefer local anesthesia -- to each their own.

  • Re:Meh... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 19, 2010 @12:42PM (#32953294)

    No it doesn't, you sadistic bastard. Why deliberately inflict pain on a child if you have a less painful option? Making a child take the more painful injection without a good reason is tantamount to abuse. If a child is allowed to go and play normally they'll likely hurt themselves in due course at which point you can encourage them to cope with pain without whining, so why inflict pain on them deliberately?

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