Shanghai university scientists deliver insulin microneedles patch

Updated: 2015-08-11 17:12

By WANG HONGYI in Shanghai(

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Scientists from Shanghai Jiao Tong University have made a breakthrough in the design of a microneedles patch, which will more effectively deliver insulin to patients with diabetes.

The idea for an insulin microneedles patch was first raised in 1998, and it is an alternative to traditional insulin injections for diabetes treatment. Such painless patches were seen as liberation for patients who fear needles but need regular injections.

Over the years, many kinds of insulin microneedles patches have been developed, but they still face various problems. For example, in using the dissolving polymer microneedles patch, the polymer on the needles often deposited on the skin, making it not suitable for long-term and frequent use.

For the hydrogel microneedles patch, the insulin utilization of is very low, less than 1 percent of an ordinary insulin injection. Professor Jin Tuo from Shanghai Jiao Tong University's School of Pharmacy and his research team resolved the drug delivery problem of insulin microneedles patch.

According to Jin, insulin is stored in the arrays of microneedles on a coin-sized patch.

These needles are less than 1 milliliter in length and made of materials used in contact lenses. When the patch is attached to the skin and pressed, the needles will release insulin through a swelling process.

Animal experiments have confirmed the effectiveness of such microneedles patches, which is almost as high as insulin injection pens.

The research has already received the support from the country's new drug development department. The research team will apply for approval of clinical trials.