Silk micro-needles offer pain-free injections, still look evil

Believe it or not, needles are your friends. They helpfully allow you to stab yourself in order to prevent you from getting sick or dying for one reason or another. But friends or not, it hurts like the dickens, and a new patch made of silk microneedles may be able to deliver all the drugs with none of the pain.

Silk is made primarily of a protein called fibroin. You can take this fibroin stuff, mix it up with your favorite drug, and pour it into a mold of tiny little needles. When it dries, you can pull it out of the mold, tweak it a bit to adjust the drug delivery rate, and then slap it on. The exciting part comes right after the slap: the micro-needles are so tiny that while they penetrate into your skin, they don't actually hit the nerves (which are farther down), so the application is virtually painless.

I know, I know, you're saying "but wait! They already have patches that deliver drugs!" Yes, they do, but not all drugs can be delivered through skin contact like that, which makes these micro-needles much more versatile. Testing has shown this delivery method to be totally viable, so feel free to just hold out on all those vaccines and inoculations and stuff until you can get them without the pain.*

Paper, via SciAm

*Neither Evan Ackerman nor DVICE are qualified medical professionals and you shouldn't pay any attention to any of our medical suggestions. That said, if you were considering actually following the advice we just gave, we'd like to suggest that you seek help as soon as possible.

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