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Pharmaceutical scientists develop novel diagnostic technology to monitor health conditions via the skin

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The Hague • 5 October 2020

“Medical tattoos” placed into the skin with microneedles could provide a new way of monitoring health parameters in real time.

Microneedles are needles so tiny (typically with a length less than 0.5mm) that their insertion is painless. For some years, pharmaceutical scientists have been investigating their use for the delivery of medicines and vaccines, but researchers from the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Montreal, Canada, are experimenting with polymeric microneedles delivering an agent which gives a fluorescent signal that could be measured with a portable detector in a point-of-care or home setting.

The findings were presented at the 7th Pharmaceutical Sciences World Congress this week. The researchers showed that they were able to optimise a fluorescent agent for use in the skin, develop dissolving microneedles, formulate the agent to be compatible for delivery via the microneedles, and measure the rate of lymphatic drainage, which is an indication of lymphoedema.

Further investigation with agents that react with physiological analytes in the skin, such as reactive oxygen species (an indicator of inflammation), is ongoing. “The skin — the largest organ in the human body — carries a great deal of health-related information, and microneedles could help us to access this,” said researcher Sam Babity, PhD student in the laboratory of pharmaceutical micro and nanotechnology.

Notes for editors

Link The research poster presented at PSWC2020 can be accessed here.

About FIP The International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) is the global federation of national associations of pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists and pharmacy educators, and is in official relations with the World Health Organization.

About PSWC 2020 FIP’s 7th Pharmaceutical Sciences World Congress is being held virtually from 4 to 6 October.

Lin-Nam Wang, Head of Corporate Communications & Advocacy
Tel +31 6 316 29160

Last update 5 July 2018

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