Patches stuck to the skin can be an appealing alternative to injections, pills, and other ways of getting medicines into the body. Two MIT groups have found ways to advance this technology.
Canan Dagdeviren, an associate professor in the Media Lab, and colleagues developed a patch that applies painless ultrasonic waves, creating tiny channels that help drugs pass through. This approach could deliver treatments for skin conditions and could also be adapted for hormones, muscle relaxants, and other drugs, the researchers say.
In tests, 26 times more of a drug passed through pig skin than was possible without ultrasonic assistance.
Meanwhile, researchers led by Ana Jaklenec and Institute Professor Robert Langer, ScD ’74, of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research have developed a small mobile printer that produces patches with hundreds of nearly painless microneedles, whose tips dissolve under the skin to release a vaccine; a study shows they can effectively vaccinate mice against covid-19.
Once printed, the vaccine patches can be stored for months at room temperature. A prototype can produce 100 in 48 hours, but the researchers expect that could be improved.
“We could someday have on-demand vaccine production,” says Jaklenec. “If, for example, there was an Ebola outbreak in a particular region, one could ship a few of these printers there.”
DeepMind’s cofounder: Generative AI is just a phase. What’s next is interactive AI.
“This is a profound moment in the history of technology,” says Mustafa Suleyman.
What to know about this autumn’s covid vaccines
New variants will pose a challenge, but early signs suggest the shots will still boost antibody responses.
Human-plus-AI solutions mitigate security threats
With the right human oversight, emerging technologies like artificial intelligence can help keep business and customer data secure
Next slide, please: A brief history of the corporate presentation
From million-dollar slide shows to Steve Jobs’s introduction of the iPhone, a bit of show business never hurt plain old business.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.