Microneedle Technology Promises Pain-free Insulin Injections

Researchers at ASTI Corp., a Japanese manufacturer of automotive electronics, and Hamamatsu University School of Medicine (HUSM) have co-developed a prototype microneedle system that could provide diabetics with pain-free insulin injections. It can also be used to administer vaccines.

Made of a durable and biodegradable polyglycolic acid resin, the device prototype called Medical Microneedle System can be produced in high volumes thanks to the combination of ASTI and HUSM’s microfabrication and injection moulding technologies.

The points of the microneedles measure less than 10 µm, and the needles penetrate no more than 1 mm of skin, making it possible to administer painless shots, according to the company.

To accommodate the proper dosage of insulin and other medications, the system is composed of several dozen needles that are lined up side by side in a fingertip-sized casing. Patients will receive one pain-free shot from several needles simultaneously.

The device has two parts: the needle array, where the number of needles and their insertion length can be adjusted, and the holder.

Shizuoka-based ASTI says it will start shipping samples for evaluation and application testing at the end of January 2012.

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