The transdermal patch, or microneedle, has been around since the late 1970s. It was touted as a ‘cure’ for motion sickness and the means to stop smoking. Back then, you stuck a bandage on your arm with dreams of never seeing another airline motion sickness bag or hopes of finally kicking the smoking habit.
Microneedles have advanced considerably since then and new technology has evolved to effectively deliver a range of medicines and treatments through the skin. In an earlier article, we explained the four main types of microneedles, how they work, and the advantages/disadvantages of each.
In comparing different types of microneedles, the dissolving microneedle has become recognized as the most effective platform to deliver medicines, proteins, and other treatments. Researchers recognize that “in terms of increasing penetration effect, dissolving microneedles in disease therapeutic efficacy are more prominent than the other three.”
To date, the limitation has been how long the patch must remain on the skin. Application times ranging from three to twelve hours have presented a host of related issues, from itchiness and general discomfort to red spots and patches moving or shifting position.
SeriTech and its partners have developed a ground-breaking solution that eliminates long application times and flattens hurdles to efficiently deliver medicines.
Fast detaching, dissolving Microneedles from SeriTech
SeriTech was founded on the principle of creating real solutions for real people. It promotes an innovative concept that is kind to the planet and able to take care of your environment while helping improve the health of each person.
The company is developing a suite of medicinal products leveraging a revolutionary, fast detaching, dissolving microneedle concept to solve the limitations of other microneedle patches. With a two-minute application time, the SeriTech model eliminates inherent risks found in other dissolving microneedles.
The products will make breakthroughs, from vaccines and pain killers to deep skin treatments and on-organ patches, shifting delivery mechanisms for future generations and democratizing access to an array of drugs.
General Manager Richard Joye says: “Our vision is to create game-changing products that make a real impact: social, health, economic, and environmental. For this, we develop, with our partners, the most effective and efficient medical care and skin care products using innovative processes and technology. We hope to make new breakthroughs in medical care and impact people’s lives.”
SeriTech is investigating a range of new applications. The company uses biocompatible materials from silk proteins to broaden the already wide range of uses and potential uses for microneedles. It is working to advance the known benefits of microneedle technology, while investigating novel applications that could one day catch your eye or touch your heart.
Finding A Cure for Preventable Blindness
Glaucoma is a global health problem. It is the leading cause of preventable blindness, affecting millions of people globally every year. Glaucoma is asymptomatic in its early stages and, when detected, the most common treatment is eye drops or eye ointments.
The drawback with eyedrops and ointments is twofold. First, patient compliance is a challenge as there is the need for frequent administration. Simply put, people often forget this part. Second, and more important, there is limited efficacy as the drops cannot cross various eye barriers and enter the cornea, reporting “less than 5% of administered drug enters the eye.”
When glaucoma is diagnosed, surgery can have positive results. But access to specialists and treatment centers in many parts of the world is not possible for a host of reasons, the most common being cost and availability. This is especially important as the disease is known to “dis-proportionally affecting people residing in Asia and Africa.”
New Treatments for Glaucoma
There is hope in sight with advanced research into the microneedle ocular patch (MOP) – yes, you read that correctly – a microneedle for your eye. The MOP design mimics a standard contact lens in size and shape and is applied the same way.
Treating eye diseases with microneedles has yielded positive results. Researchers note the technology “shows improvement in the visual acuity and decreases the progression of the different ocular diseases.”
One in vitro study found microneedles delivered “significant enhancement of macromolecule permeation when MNs were used, across both the corneal and scleral tissues, in comparison to topically applied aqueous solutions,” concluding MOPs “ have potential applications in enhancing ocular delivery of both small and macromolecules.”
Microneedles might be safer than surgery as they can “penetrate directly into the sclera and avoid complications associated with conventional ophthalmic therapeutic strategies.”
To break the low efficacy of eyedrops and better introduce antibiotics to the cornea, it is reported “rapidly dissolving microneedles can be developed to effectively deliver besifloxacin to treat bacterial infections in the cornea and eye.”
And when it comes to treating glaucoma with pilocarpine, a common medication, studies indicate a “MOP can be developed as a potential ophthalmic drug delivery system.”
A significant advantage of microneedles is they can be self-administered. This will broaden access to an array of eye treatments and democratize treatments in under-served regions.
An important benefit of dissolving microneedles is they do not require complex logistics, whether cold chain for transport and storage, or professional staff to administer treatments. Another advantage is the reduction of biohazardous waste from needles and fluid transmission.
SeriTech is investigating how its rapid detaching, dissolving microneedle technology could be applied to ocular patches as part of its ongoing commitment to impact lives and broaden access to a range of medical treatments.
Microneedles for Cardiovascular and Internal Treatments
If microneedle ocular patches made you raise an eye, the thought of internal microneedle arrays could touch your heart.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports the #1 cause of death worldwide is heart disease. Heart attacks (myocardial infarction) and stroke make up 85% of that statistic. Treating damaged heart tissue muscles is challenging and researchers are continually investigating new methods.
Microneedle patches show strong potential in healing heart attack victims. An encouraging study introducing a microneedle patch “integrated with cardiac stromal cells (MN-CSCs) for therapeutic heart regeneration after acute myocardial infarction (MI)” found the “system represents an innovative approach delivering therapeutic cells for heart regeneration.”
Related cardiovascular tissue regeneration research highlights a bio-engineered epicardial patch for a damaged heart using a Cell and Matrix Biopatch. The study revealed cell to cell communication that activated white blood cells in the immune system to scavenge infection (macrophages). It noted that “cell cross-talks promoted an anti-inflammatory response that promoted cardiac cells proliferation.”
Microneedle patches have shown potential in treating internal wounds but adhesion in wet wounds has been difficult to achieve. South Korean researchers created a patch using adhesive proteins found in mussels for wet (internal) applications and silk fibroin for structural strength. Initial results described an “excellent biocompatibility, biodegradability, and optional transdermal drug delivery ability, leading to prompt sealing and functional healing of external and internal wounds.”
SeriTech is exploring how its microneedle technology could be applied in such novel treatments in fighting the world’s #1 killer.
Microneedles for other Treatments
The ability to adapt microneedles for specific treatments is gaining traction in research institutes worldwide. From cancer and diabetes to Alzheimer’s and asthma treatments, research affirms “microneedles possess characteristic advantages (painless and rapid delivery) as compared to other systemic administration and enable other representative biomedical applications.”
New cancer treatments explored by Irish researchers observed “the microneedle platform can delay tumor initiation and slow tumor growth in a therapeutic model.”
SeriTech looks forward to collaborating with scientists to deliver these medicines via its fast detaching, dissolving microneedle platform.
The SeriTech Philosophy
Every day there is a growing need to implement new drug and/or vaccine delivery systems that are more efficient in leveraging valuable resources. New methods, like dissolving microneedles, will employ only the required amount of each medical substance with zero waste.
As the list of microneedle applications grows, SeriTech is dedicated to investigating these opportunities and developing solutions. At the heart of corporate philosophy lies the aspiration to develop a suite of applications based on its novel microneedle technology that address the specific needs of diverse populations and cultures worldwide.
Brand Manager Luisa Sugisawa says that “being located in the heart of Barcelona Scientific Park combined with our membership in CataloniaBio & Health Tech opens the door to conversations with a range of dedicated researchers. This is both exciting and inspiring as it stimulates us to investigate what is possible with our technology. Dissolving microneedles are recognized for an array of applications and SeriTech’s rapid detaching technology is an industry leader. We are focused on developing efficient, effective, and economic treatments and our ambition has always been to improve people’s lives with our products.”
In the not-so-distant future, microneedle patches will be available for a variety of new, lifesaving treatments. In bypassing old models, there will be a significant shift in how we manage global healthcare.
SeriTech will lead the shift from traditional vaccines and medicines delivery and introduce new systems that will impact your life.