Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Business Impact

You Won't Feel a Thing

Nobody likes being jabbed with a needle. But how to deliver medications without pain? One solution: arrays of tiny silicon needles. Georgia Institute of Technology researchers Mark Prausnitz and Mark Allen fabricated a prototype array 10 millimeters square, bristling with silicon needles 150 microns long. Such needles make a microscopic hole in the skin’s outer layer, which is devoid of nerve endings. Such devices could offer the convenience of skin patches but administer a much wider variety of drugs than the few (such as nicotine) that are absorbed directly through the skin.

The microneedles are particularly promising for the delivery of new biotechnology-derived drugs that are destroyed by digestion and cannot be taken orally. These drugs generally must be administered frequently, rendering conventional hypodermic injection impractical. Ultimately, the arrays could be programmed so that, for example, a microprocessor could sample blood-sugar levels and administer insulin in just the right doses.

More from Business Impact

How technology advances are changing the economy and providing new opportunities in many industries.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Online Only.
  • Insider Online Only {! insider.prices.online !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Unlimited online access including articles and video, plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.