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MIT researchers develop a way to inject drugs at near speed of sound without needles

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MIT researchers have developed a new way to administer drugs into the skin with a needle-less jet.

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MIT needle-less injection
MIT needle-less injection

MIT scientists are developing a needle-less injection technology that could see doctors administering drugs using a tiny high-pressured jet in future. Researchers unveiled a device this week that eliminates the use of needles by delivering drugs into tissue using a high-pressured stream right into the skin.

The technology will benefit those who are afraid of needles or who have to frequently self-inject says Catherine Hogan, a research scientist at MIT. "We think this kind of technology … gets around some of the phobias that people may have about needles." Drugs can be fired out at almost the speed of sound at around 340 meters per second, with a wide variety of volumes and velocities supported. MIT's jet technology is of a similar diameter to a mosquito proboscis, which many humans do not feel entering their skin, so the injections will be painless.

Ways to create painless needles have been explored before by other scientists using patches or reshaping the traditional needle, but MIT feels its latest technology allows it to breach the skin at different velocities and with varying amounts of doses in a highly controlled way. MIT is also working on a similar version of the device to turn powdered form drugs into a "fluidized" form to be delivered into the skin like a liquid.