Researchers develop needle that makes it easier to deliver drugs safely

Investigators from Boston-based Brigham and Women's Hospital have created a needle that detects changes in resistance so it can properly and safely deliver medication, according to a study published in Nature Biomedical Engineering.

"Targeting specific tissues using a conventional needle can be difficult and often requires a highly trained individual," said senior corresponding author Jeff Karp, PhD. "In the past century there has been minimal innovation to the needle itself, and we saw this as an opportunity to develop better, more accurate devices. We sought to achieve improved tissue targeting while keeping the design as simple as possible for ease of use."

The device was created using a standard hypodermic needle and parts from commercially available syringes. Body tissues have different densities, and the intelligent injector device uses differences in pressure to enable the needle to move into a target tissue.

The researchers tested the device on tissue from three animal models to examine its medication delivery accuracy. They found the device prevented overshoot injuries and precisely delivered medication to the desired location without any extra training or specialized technique.

"This intelligent injector is a simple solution that could be rapidly advanced to patients to help increase target tissue precision and decrease overshoot injuries. We have completely transformed needles with a small modification that achieves better tissue targeting," said first author Girish Chitnis, PhD. "This is a platform technology, so the uses could be very widespread."

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