microneedle_770Patients who are being treated for serious infections frequently receive vancomycin, a strong antibiotic administered through intravenous over an extended period of time. Although effective, too high of a dosage can result in serious life-threatening side effects, forcing doctors and nurses to closely monitor the patient’s levels repeatedly throughout the process.

The current method of measuring patient drug levels involves drawing blood three to four times throughout the day, a painful, tedious process for the patient. To make the process easier and less agonizing, researchers at the University of British Columbia and the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) in Switzerland have created a micro-needle drug monitoring system, eliminating the need for large needles.

The micro-needle system is a thin patch which is pressed against the patients arm to measure the amount of drugs in the bloodstream, without actually drawing any blood. The patch contains tiny micro-needles less than half a millimetre long, which don’t fully puncture the skin like traditional hypodermic needles. Instead, the micro-needle only punctures the outer layer of the patient’s skin, which does not contain any blood vessels or nerves.

Researchers discovered that the fluid found in this layer can be used to monitor levels of vancomycin in the bloodstream. The micro-needles collect less than a millionth of a millilitre of fluid within this layer of skin, causing a reaction to occur which can be detected using an optical sensor. Since only one layer of skin being broken and minimal fluid being taken, the process is over very quickly and the patient experiences no pain.

Innovative devices similar to the micro-needle system offer an easier process for medical professionals to administer, while maximizing patient safety. Eclipse Automation specializes in a range of health sciences systems, including blood collection devices and fluid diagnostic cartridge assemblies, that offer advanced product quality, optimized operations and are compliant with your needs.

Source: ScienceDaily