Why Microneedles will Disrupt More than Conventional Healthcare
Every parent has countless memories of their children, from pregnancy and birth, to untold recollections of childhood and as they grow. But one moment that sticks in our collective minds is the first vaccine injection. The sight of that first needle is frightening. On one hand, we are proud they held strong and fought the urge to cry out when the skin was pierced. On the other, we are distraught to watch silent tears rolling down their cheeks.
Our guilt is softened in the knowledge we are preventing them from contracting a variety of diseases. We purge our remorse with the offer of ice-cream or a treat for ‘bravery’, while quietly taking the doctor’s card with the next scary injection date. We want to shield our child from this experience but recognize that, for the time being, there is no alternative.
With age, many become accustomed to injections, barely noticing the sweet sting of the needle sliding under the skin and the slight swelling that follows. Others are not so fortunate, developing a fear of needles. Injections can be painful and nerve-wracking, especially for kids. Anxiety mounts in anticipation of the next jab and parents can offer little consolation.
What if there was a painless solution that was safe, easy-to-use, and effective?
Fortunately, there is. In the not-so-distant future, microneedling technology, especially patches with tiny clusters of hair-sized dissolving needles applied to the skin, will replace the hypodermic needle for many applications, including routine injections and vaccines. Scientists recognize that the “microneedle is a highly effective transdermal vaccine delivery method due to its mechanism of action, painlessness, and ease of use.”
What is a Microneedle?
Microneedles have been around for decades and come in four main varieties: solid, coated, hollow, and dissolving. They work by piercing the external barrier layer of skin – the stratum corneum – and putting the drug directly into your body’s circulating system via the epidermis – the upper layer of your skin’s connective tissue.
Scientific American reports that “because these devices insert drugs directly into the epidermis or dermis, they deliver medicines much more efficiently than familiar transdermal patches, which rely on diffusion through the skin.”
But microneedles bear limitations. Solid needles are less efficient in delivering drug dosage. They can induce irritation and bleeding and have limitations on the quantity of active ingredient they can deliver. And while coated microneedles have good delivery, the sharp needles left behind on the patch are a biohazard, potentially infecting other people who contact with them. The hollow microneedles resemble a shorter series of syringes that pierce the skin and allow the liquid drug to penetrate but they leave unsightly marks and occasional skin irritation, as they are usually bigger than other types of microneedles.
While dissolving microneedles resolved the issue of biohazardous waste, they experienced challenges in delivering a fixed amount of the drug with accuracy and guarantees. Dissolving microneedle patch needed to remain on the skin for a long period while the microneedles dissolved, usually overnight, with risks of moving or infection.
Science Direct reported a common problem with microneedles is “when a microneedle device is inserted into the skin and removed after the treatment, it leaves behind holes of micron size. It may take time to reseal these pores. These holes need to be resealed quickly, otherwise may cause infection. The time taken by the skin to recover its barrier properties is important.”
The good news is recent advances in dissolving microneedle technology have developed a fast application process and speedy skin recovery. SeriTech, a company based in Thailand and Barcelona, has worked with a team of researchers who pioneered the first fast detaching and dissolving microneedle technology with application times as short as 2 minutes. Together, and with co-development partners, they develop innovate skincare and medicinal products leveraging this unique capability and patented concept.
Richard Joye, Managing Director at SeriTech and head of European operations, says “the main problem with existing commercial microneedle technologies is that they require long application time and bear health risks. Pores stay open too long with traditional dissolving types and hard needles leave micro-holes that are open for hours. With our products, our patches, and an application time of only 2 minutes, there are no micro-holes left open after application and the application time is too short to allow germs to penetrate. The recovery of the skin, especially after using the DETACH patch loaded with Vitamin B to gently massage the skin post application, is almost immediate. No other product on the market does this.”
This fast-acting microneedle technology is soon available with SeriTech’s IPSYLON Skincare brand that will be launched in few months. The skincare products allow customers who look for real efficacity to apply only the active ingredients directly to the target area and eliminate unnecessary ingredients packed into traditional creams and serums.
With a 2-minute application, IPSYLON is set to disrupt our skincare routine by introducing easy, express, and effective products that yields professional results from the comfort of our home or on the fly.
SeriTech and IPSYLON founder Saimai Cunvong felt there was a better way to deliver an active ingredient than using surfactants in creams or paying a visit to a dermatologist.
“When we first developed creams and serums, I thought about their benefits. We women have many things to do. Many products are available but need long routines. For us time is of the essence. As working professionals, mothers, and spouses, we must balance our skincare routine with sports, family, work, and beauty care. I thought there must be a better way to treat our skins. When we started researching microneedle products and solutions with an amazing team of scientists, we had that aha! moment and realized this was the perfect method to target specific areas with an active ingredient, all in 2 minutes!” she exclaimed.
IPSYLON will hit the market mid-2021, with a range of five clinically proven products to correct dark spots, reduce acne scars and effectively smoothen and reduce wrinkles. A minimalist formula, blended into the fast detaching and dissolving micro-vectors, made of only the required ingredients.
IPSYLON positively impacts consumers and delivers visible results. It removes the need for painful and costly professional treatment, visits to aesthetic salons, expensive or ineffective products, and long skincare routines.
IPSYLON eliminates emulsifiers, preservatives, surfactants, and other ingredients that less-effective creams and serums use to reach only a minimal level of efficacy. The product line is environmentally friendly, ethical and brings a refreshingly simple and honest approach to skincare. The product is easy, effective, and efficient.
Saimai says her vision was to create a brand that aligns with our 21st century lifestyle, highlighting new consumer habits and needs.
SeriTech has new offices in Barcelona Scientific Park and is ramping up R&D into its Microneedl.es division to target delivery of medicalised products and vaccines with micro-vector patches.
This has exciting implications for safe, cost-effective delivery of a range of medicines via microneedles. It could reduce the need for liquid vaccine flasks, syringes and needles and eliminate the complex cold chain logistics we are witnessing with Covid-19 vaccines. Detachable, dissolvable microneedles will diminish hazardous waste disposal and reduce requirements for qualified personnel to administer.
While today’s kids might not be getting vaccinated with a microneedle patch, the next generation may very well. Our kids will undoubtedly continue to get hypodermic jabs for vaccinations, flu shots and the much-anticipated Covid-19 vaccine, among others. Like most adults, our kids will come to accept the current method but dream of a day when painless patches can be applied at home to deliver medicines for their kids.