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Microneedle patch shows promise in treating MRSA skin infections

What's New? | May 24, 2021 | By:

A microneedle patch allows antibiotics to be applied directly into the skin, instead of being circulated throughout the body in the bloodstream. Each microneedle is just 0.2 mm wide at the base. Photo: Jill Ziesmer.

Assoc. Prof. Georgios Sotiriou and Ph.D. student Jill Ziesmer  at Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet have created a microneedle device that provides a localized treatment for MRSA (methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus) skin infections. 

These potentially serious infections are usually treated by an antibiotic injection. However, injecting the medication sends it throughout the patient’s bloodstream, which can cause side effects. As an alternative, scientists have created an experimental microneedle patch that is placed on the skin at the site of an MRSA infection, delivering vancomycin directly into the skin via the needles. By treating the infection in this way, a lower dosage is needed. 

The device is pressed against a patient’s body just enough for the microneedles to penetrate the outer layer of the skin, without connecting with any nerves beneath this layer. The needles dissolve, releasing the medicine into the interstitial fluid and then into the bloodstream. 

In lab tests conducted on skin samples from piglets and humans, the microneedle patch was shown to be effective at delivering vancomycin into the skin, resulting in a significant reduction of MRSA bacteria. Live animal trials are now being planned, possibly followed by human clinical trials.

“If this drug delivery device reaches the clinics, it has the capacity to transform the way skin infections from potentially lethal bacteria are treated with drastic improvements in the quality of life of patients,” says Sotiriou.

A paper on the research was recently published in the journal Advanced Materials Technologies.

Source: Karolinska Institutet

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