Jet Device Injects Drugs Without Needles

The prospect of less painful medicine shots without needles came a step closer this month, as US researchers revealed how they have developed a device that delivers a controlled, tiny, high-pressure jet into the skin without using a hypodermic needle. While there are already several jet-devices on the market, they tend to be of an "all or nothing" design that delivers the same amount of drug to the same depth each time. However the new jet-injection device that researchers at MIT have engineered can be programmed to deliver medicine into the skin in a range of doses to variable depths in a controlled manner. A statement released earlier this week gives details of the new technology, with comments from study leader Ian Hunter, the George N. Hatsopoulos Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT, and some members of his team. Earlier this year, the journal Medical Engineering & Physics also published a paper where they describe the progress of their development. Hunter and colleagues see a number of advantages to the technology. One advantage is a reduction in needle-stick injuries. For instance, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are around 385,000 cases a year in the US of health workers in hospitals accidentally pricking themselves with needles. Another advantage of a needle-less device is it may help improve compliance, for instance among diabetes patients who are reluctant to use hypodermic needles to inject themselves with insulin. Team member Catherine Hogan is a research scientist in MIT's Department of Mechanical Engineering. She said: "If you are afraid of needles and have to frequently self-inject, compliance can be an issue."...
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