The secrets behind microneedles

17 Aug 2015 Researchers in NUS have shown that forces applied on the microneedles can affect drug permeation through human skin.

Microneedles emerge as a powerful tool to various drugs and cosmetic ingredients through skin into the human body. A team led by Dr KANG Lifeng from the Department of Pharmacy in NUS has demonstrated that forces applied on the microneedles can influence drug permeation through human skin. Hydrophobicity of drugs and formulation design are other important factors to influence drug permeation.

This project is in collaboration with 3M Singapore to address challenges that limit the use of microneedles in pharmaceutical and cosmetic applications, including the exact mechanism of microneedles in facilitating the skin permeability of therapeutic agents, reasonable design of microneedle products and skin safety concerns. The findings are critical for the successful commercialization of microneedle products.

Ms LI Hairui, postgraduate student working with the project, has won the 2015 NUS Faculty of Science Best Graduate Researcher Award of Department of Pharmacy.

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A. 3MTM Microneedle array. B. Manual application of the microneedles. C. Micro-sized holes created by microneedles on human skin which are force dependent. D. A fluorescent oligodeoxynucleotides permeated into skin through the micro-sized holes. [Image credit: Kang Lifeng]



1. Li H, Low Y, Chong H, Zin M, Lee C-Y, Li B, Leolukman M, Kang L. “Microneedle-mediated delivery of copper peptide through Skin.” Pharmaceutical Research. 32 (2015) 2678.

2. Li H, Yu Y, Dana SF, Li B, Li CY, Kang L. “Novel engineered systems for oral, mucosal andtransdermaldrug delivery.” Journal of Drug Targeting. 21 (2013) 611.