Washington DC: For the purpose of covering a variety of medical devices with biologically active ingredients, researchers created a very accurate approach.
The researchers claim that such a method might usher in a new era of transdermal medicine, including immunisations without shots.
In Nature Communications, researchers described a fresh method for electrospray deposition, an industrial spray-coating procedure.
In essence, Rutgers scientists came up with a way to better regulate the target area within a spray zone as well as the electrical characteristics of the small particles being deposited. The more effectively these two characteristics are used, the more likely it is that the spray will strike its tiny target.
By applying a high voltage to a flowing liquid, such as a biopharmaceutical, manufacturers can employ electrospray deposition to turn it into tiny particles. As each droplet moves towards its destination, it evaporates, depositing a solid precipitate from the starting fluid.
“While many people think of electrospray deposition as an efficient method, applying it normally does not work for targets that are smaller than the spray, such as the microneedle arrays in transdermal patches,” said Jonathan Singer, an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering in the Rutgers School of Engineering and an author on the study.
“Present methods only achieve about 40 percent efficiency. However, through advanced engineering techniques we’ve developed, we can achieve efficiencies statistically indistinguishable from 100 percent.”
Coatings are increasingly critical for a variety of medical applications. They are used on medical devices implanted into the body, such as stents, defibrillators and pacemakers.
They are beginning to be used more frequently in new products employing biologicals, such as transdermal patches.
Advanced biological or “bioactive” materials – such as drugs – can be costly to produce, especially if any of the material is wasted, which can greatly limit whether a patient can receive a given treatment. “We were looking to evaluate if electrospray deposition, which is a well-established method for analytical chemistry, could be made into an efficient approach to create biomedically active coatings,” Singer said.
Higher efficiencies could be the key to making electrospray deposition more appealing for the manufacture of medical devices using bioactive materials, researchers said.
“Being able to deposit with 100 per cent efficiency means none of the material would be wasted, allowing devices or vaccines to be coated in this way,” said Sarah Park, a doctoral student in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering who is the first author on the paper.
“We anticipate that future work will expand the range of compatible materials and the material delivery rate of this high‐efficiency approach.”