MIT develops needle-free jet injector

MIT's next-generation, needle-free drug device--courtesy of MIT

The options for needle-resistant patients are wide, including creams, gels and patches. However, researchers at MIT say their newly minted jet-injection system allows for greater flexibility and accuracy than anything on the market.

While the basic technology is nothing new--devices that blast treatment through the skin without needles have been on the market for some time--the one developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology can deliver a range of doses at variable depths, the researchers said, creating a far more adaptable device than is currently available.

It works like this: Inside the device is a powerful magnet surrounded by a wire coil and attached to a piston. When you apply a current to the metal, it creates a magnetic field that fires the piston, shooting the enclosed drug at near the speed of sound, passing through the device's tiny nozzle and into the skin.  

The really inventive part comes in the device's customizability, though. Researchers can control the velocity and pressure of drug delivery by modifying the current applied to the coil, allowing the device to administer varying treatments to all skin types. "If I'm breaching a baby's skin to deliver vaccine, I won't need as much pressure as I would need to breach my skin," Catherine Hogan, a member of the research team, said in a statement. "We can tailor the pressure profile to be able to do that, and that's the beauty of this device."

And the technology could also be useful for non-dermal treatments, the researchers reported in the journal Medical Engineering and Physics. They are developing a version of the device that could administer powder-based APIs using much the same method, but with a tweak that would allow the device to "liquidize" the drug and blast it into the skin.

- read the MIT release
- get ​FierceMedicalDevices​' take
- check out the journal abstract