Posting in Cancer
A new device may be able to help deliver drugs into the bloodstream more effectively than traditional needles.
The common fear of needles coupled with the possibility of getting pricked or failure to find a vein can make a trip to the hospital a harrowing experience. However, it may be possible in the future to inject drugs directly into a bloodstream -- without the use of steel-ended implements.
MIT's engineering team, led by Ian Hunter, the George N. Hatsopoulos Professor of Mechanical Engineering, have developed a 'jet-injection system' that delivers doses of medicine in different quantities without piercing the skin in the same manner as a traditional needle.
The injection system comprises of a tiny, high-pressure jet that can deliver medicine in various doses -- an improvement over similar systems that are currently available.
The device's design is based on the Lorentz-force actuator mechanism, a small, powerful magnet that is surrounded by wire coils which carry current. The magnet is then attached to a piston which forces the drug forwards at high speeds -- approximately 343 meters per second.
When current flows through the wire coils, the piston is then driven forward at various pressure and velocity levels depending on the magnetic force of the current and magnet. Once the piston launches, it pierces the skin in the same manner as a mosquito bite.
Catherine Hogan, a research scientist in MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering said:
"If I'm breaching a baby's skin to deliver vaccine, I won't need as much pressure as I would need to breach my skin. We can tailor the pressure profile to be able to do that, and that's the beauty of this device."
Submitted to the journal Medical Engineering & Physics, the researchers say that apart from the benefit of removing patient anxiety over needles, it may also prove a safe means to reduce needle-inflicted injuries and discomfort.
"If you are afraid of needles and have to frequently self-inject, compliance can be an issue. We think this kind of technology [..] gets around some of the phobias that people may have about needles."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that healthcare professionals accidentally prick themselves with needles 385,000 per year -- something which could be lowered if devices like the jet-injection system are integrated into health systems. It may also be a means to help patients who have to inject themselves daily; including diabetes sufferers.
Image credit: MIT BioInstrumentation Lab
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May 23, 2012
I received most of my injections this way in USAF basic training in 1965. Still have scars. The problem in those days was controlling the pressure. Sometimes it worked great and other times it blew a hole as much as 1/8 to 1/4 inch hole in the arm- we bled like stuck pigs. Also the techs were in such a rush, sometimes they didn't stop and hold when they pushed the trigger, moving as they shot, leaving deep bleeding gashes as long as an inch. After basic, I refused any injections by this method. Some years later the AF stopped using it and I think Army and Navy stopped using it also. In addition to the painful malfunctions, even a successful injection hurt more than a needle.
The US Navy was innoculating recruits in bootcamp w/o needles at Great Lakes Recruit Training Command Naval Training Center (RTC NTC), IL in May 1967. They were using a high pressure device. No piles of used syringes. I ought to know - I got several shots that way.
I don't think this will help the problem of not being able to find a vein. In the video they were always careful to say "inject into the skin" or "the eye" or the "tympanic membrane" -- all pretty big targets. If you require direct injection into a vein or artery, you'd better stick with a needle, for now.
When I went through Air Force basic training, lo those many years ago, all standatd injections were given using air gun injectors. The drug vial was inserted into the gun and air presssure - suppled by an external compresor - forced the dosage into the skin. No needles were used and it was a mass production system. We marched past the techs, stopped for maybe 2 seconds, got injected and marched to the next injection station.
"wire coils which carry currant" would, indeed, be worthy of a story! Wire coils carrying current would be more mundane, but would also be more correct.
The Star Trek hypospray becomes reality. Good thing too. I remember all the troubles and pain my Mom went through in her last years with needles. She had been stuck so much, it was almost impossible to find her veins anymore. I truly hope this puts an end to that for others.
This system is not using compressed air. The original military systems worked by attaching the device to either tanks of air or a compressor (I forget). The new system relies on an electric form of compression that is more portable and is also easier to adjust the amount of pressure used so that a child with thin skin is not given the same as older adult with much thicker skin and perhaps layers of fat, etc.
You can thank the bombardier beetle who has a hypospray butt that shoots boiling liquid at its enemies. They were the inspiration for this technology.