Researchers at Purdue University have developed a wearable patch that could bring an improved treatment experience to people with melanoma.
Conventional melanoma therapies leave patients suffering from the toxicity and side effects of repeated treatments because of aggressive and the recurrent nature of melanoma cells, according to the researchers.
The Purdue University wearable patch features a gradual slow dissolution of silicon nanoneedles to allow for long-lasting and sustainable delivery of cancer therapeutics.
“We developed a novel wearable patch with fully miniaturized needles, enabling unobtrusive drug delivery through the skin for the management of skin cancers,” Chi Hwan Lee, a Purdue assistant professor of biomedical engineering and mechanical engineering, said in a news release. “Uniquely, this patch is fully dissolvable by body fluids in a programmable manner such that the patch substrate is dissolved within one minute after the introduction of needles into the skin, followed by gradual dissolution of the silicon needles inside the tissues within several months.”
Purdue researchers developed a design of bioresorbable silicon nanoneedles that are built on a thin, flexible and water-soluble medical film. The film acts as a temporary holder that can be interfaced with the skin during the insertion of the nano needles, followed up by rapid, complete dissolution within a minute.
“The uniqueness of our technology arises from the fact that we used extremely small but long-lasting silicon nanoneedles with sharpened angular tips that are easy for their penetration into the skin in a painless and minimally invasive manner,” Lee said.
The nanoneedle surface is configured with nanoscale pores to provide a large drug loading capacity, which is comparable to conventional microneedles, according to the researchers.
The researchers suggest the nanoneedles could deliver chemotherapeutic drugs to target melanoma site in a sustainable manner. They are biocompatible and dissolvable in tissue fluid and can be completely resorbed in the body over months.
Lee and the researchers are looking for partners to continue developing the technology.
The research was supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.