The fear of needles, known as belonephobia, can make it difficult to follow certain treatments or get vaccinated. A team of Israeli researchers, led by Professor Dror Fixler, a physicist specializing in optics, has developed a technology based on invisible nanodiamonds that could replace the needles of syringes or allow the movement of particles to be followed through the skin. The study, published in ACS, I link it here.
Dermal patches are already widely used to treat pain, help reduce or eliminate tobacco addiction, or even as a method of contraception. If researchers want them to replace syringes, though, they have to work on it. To be precise, they need to identify the layers of the skin that can most easily absorb the drug-coated particles: and they also need to study how deep they go.
The future is without needles
Science fiction, you know, it does not foresee the future: it inspires it. For this reason, the feeling is that the transfer of drugs and substances through our skin will soon do without needles in all its possible applications. The next generation of medical plasters will be revolutionary, as needles will be replaced by tiny carbon particles approximately one millionth of a millimeter in size. They are, to all intents and purposes, diamonds. They are produced in the laboratory through a sort of "explosion" which reproduces the high pressure and temperature conditions present during the extraction of natural diamonds.
The nano diamond patches will offer a painless and non-invasive solution to traditional treatments such as injections, and will not just dispense drugs. They will also make it possible to verify the concentration of the product and to monitor the effects on the disease being treated. What's even more important? The nanodiamonds will be used as carriers for treatments on patients who would have had to undergo biopsies or the removal of parts of the liver, an invasive and painful procedure. According to Professor FixlerIndeed, it is this that represents the real and important advance in dermatology and optical engineering.
What effect will they have on the skin?
To test how well these diamonds work on human skin, the researchers applied their solution to pig skin and monitored the effects for three hours. In the past, in order to "see" nanodiamonds, it was necessary to perform a biopsy on a sample taken in the laboratory. Professor Fixler has discovered that by combining a laser with a complex algorithm it is possible to track nanodiamonds without having to perform a biopsy. And in the future these plasters will be able to directly replace the taking of tissue samples, because they will allow to analyze its composition directly "on site". A technology that seems particularly suitable, for example, for the diagnosis of melanoma.
In summary, the algorithm can allow doctors to know exactly where the nanodiamonds "injected" without needles with the patch are. It is perhaps the definitive step towards the complete replacement of injections with much more precise and less invasive biomedical products. A little "miracle of science" that will change the way we treat different diseases and conditions.