A skin patch development could pave the way for new skin cancer treatments in the future that would not require chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
Scientists have developed a bioresorbable, wearable skin patch that is made up of fully miniaturised silicon nanoneedles that will help with the management of skin cancer. Currently, conventional methods for treating skin cancer include chemotherapy and radiotherapy, both involving toxicity, and which can have negative side effects after repeated treatments.
The researchers from Purdue University, who have published their work in the journal ACS Nano, have created the patch to help address the problems of current skin cancer treatments.
A unique drug delivery method
The novel, wearable patch is unique in its delivery of cancer therapeutics, with the slow dissolution of the silicon nanoneedles allowing for long-lasting and sustainable delivery.
Chi Hwan Lee, a Purdue assistant professor of biomedical engineering and mechanical engineering, said: “We developed a novel wearable patch with fully miniaturised needles, enabling unobtrusive drug delivery through the skin for the management of skin cancers.
“Uniquely, this patch is fully dissolvable by body fluids in a programmable manner such that the patch substrate is dissolved within one minute after the introduction of needles into the skin, followed by gradual dissolution of the silicon needles inside the tissues within several months.”
The team developed the design of the nanoneedles which are built on a very thin, flexible, and water-soluble medical film, and the surface of the needles themselves have nanoscale pores for large quantities of drug loading.
Lee said: “The uniqueness of our technology arises from the fact that we used extremely small but long-lasting silicon nanoneedles with sharpened angular tips that are easy for their penetration into the skin in a painless and minimally invasive manner.”
The silicon nanoneedles are made in such a way that they are dissolvable in tissue fluids, making them harmless to the wearer.