Breakthrough drug-eluting patch stops scar growth and reduces scar tissues

June 23, 2014

Scars -- in particular keloid scars that result from overgrowth of skin tissue after injuries or surgeries -- are unsightly and can even lead to disfigurement and psychological problems of affected patients. Individuals with darker pigmentation -- in particular people with African, Hispanic or South-Asian genetic background -- are more likely to develop this skin tissue disorder. Current therapy options, including surgery and injections of corticosteroids into scar tissues, are often ineffective, require clinical supervision and can be costly.

A new invention by researchers from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore (reported in the current issue of TECHNOLOGY) provides a simple, affordable and -- most importantly -- highly effective way for patients to self-treat keloid scars. The team of scientists and engineers from NTU's School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, in collaboration with clinicians from Singapore's National Skin Centre, have developed a special patch made from polymers fabricated into microneedles, which are loaded with the US food and drug administration (FDA)-approved scar-reducing drug, 5-fluorouracil. Self-administered by patients, the microneedles attach the patch to scar tissue and allow sustained drug-release (one patch per night). The drug as well as the physical contact of the microneedles with the scar tissue contributes to the efficacy of the device, leading to the cessation of scar tissue growth and a considerable reduction of keloids as demonstrated in laboratory cultures and experiments with animals. "Most patients seek treatment due to disfigurement and/or pain or itch of scars," says Assistant Professor Xu Chenjie from NTU who leads the study. "We wanted to develop a simple, convenient, and cost-effective device able to inhibit keloid growth in skin tissue and reduce the size of disfiguring scars," adds Yuejun Kang, another key investigator in the study from NTU.

"Self-administered treatment for keloid scars can reduce the economic burden on the healthcare system and provide a treatment option for patients who have limited access to medical care," comments Professor Jeffrey Karp from Brigham and Women's Hospital at Harvard Medical School, US, an expert on medical device design who was not involved in this study.
-end-
The research was supported by a start-up grant from NTU, Tier-1 Academic Research Funds from the Singapore Ministry of Education, and an Ignition Grant from the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) program.

Corresponding authors for this study in TECHNOLOGY are Chenjie Xu (cjxu@ntu.edu.sg) or Yuejun Kang (yuejun.kang@ntu.edu.sg).

The article can be found at‎http://www.technologythejournal.com/news/breaking-news-23.pdf



World Scientific

Related Microneedles Articles from Brightsurf:

Malaria test as simple as a bandage
A test for malaria looks like a bandage, but can diagnose the disease in minutes without the need for medical expertise or specialized equipment.

Microneedles for therapeutic gene delivery
Researchers develop a minimally invasive biodegradable microneedle patch as a novel delivery mode for gene therapy applications

Painless paper patch test for glucose levels uses microneedles
Researchers at The University of Tokyo have developed a microneedle patch for monitoring glucose levels using a paper sensor.

Velcro-like food sensor detects spoilage and contamination
MIT engineers have designed a Velcro-like food sensor, made from an array of silk microneedles, that pierces through plastic packaging to sample food for signs of spoilage and bacterial contamination.

Wearable patch may provide new treatment option for skin cancer
Purdue University innovators have created a novel wearable patch to provide an improved treatment experience for people with melanoma.

Microneedling therapeutic stem cells into damaged tissues
Small and minimally invasive 'Detachable Microneedle Depots' effectively deliver stem cells for localized MSC therapy of skin disorders.

Extraction of skin interstitial fluid using microneedle patches
Researchers at the Terasaki Institute enhance tool for extraction of samples used in monitoring patient health.

Screw cancer: Microneedle sticks it to cancer tissue
A drug-loaded microrobotic needle effectively targets and remains attached to cancerous tissue in lab experiments without needing continuous application of a magnetic field, allowing more precise drug delivery.

Engineers develop precision injection system for plants
A new method developed by engineers at MIT may offer a starting point for delivering life-saving treatments to plants ravaged by such diseases.

Microscopic STAR particles offer new potential treatment for skin diseases
A skin cream infused with microscopic particles, named STAR particles, could potentially facilitate better treatment of skin diseases including psoriasis, warts, and certain types of skin cancer.

Read More: Microneedles News and Microneedles Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.