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Electro-Drawn Drug-Loaded Biodegradable Polymer Microneedles as a Viable Route to Hypodermic Injection

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Abstract

Hypodermic needle injection is still the most common method of drug delivery despite its numerous limitations and drawbacks, such as pain, one-shot administration, and risk of infection. Seeking a viable, safe, and pain-free alternative to the over 16 billion injections per year has therefore become a top priority for our modern technological society. Here, a system that uses a pyroelectric cartridge in lieu of the syringe piston as a potential solution is discussed. Upon stimulation, the cartridge electro-draws, at room temperature, an array of drug-encapsulated, biodegradable polymer microneedles, able to deliver into hypodermic tissue both hydrophobic and hydrophilic bioactive agents, according to a predefined chrono-programme. This mould-free and contact-free method permits the fabrication of biodegradable polymer microneedles into a ready-to-use configuration. In fact, they are formed on a flexible substrate/holder by drawing them directly from drop reservoirs, using a controlled electro-hydrodynamic force. Tests of insertion are performed and discussed in order to demonstrate the possibility to prepare microneedles with suitable geometric and mechanical properties using this method.

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