A laser injection device has been developed to administer medicines with the idea that it will replace needles and make the jab process considerably less painful.
The laser device has been developed by a science team based in South Korea. According to Gizmag, the scientists have the objective of producing a device which is of a low cost and where the sensation experienced by the patient is no more than the feeling of having a puff of air blown onto the skin.
For this the researchers have developed a special laser called a Er:YAG (an acronym for erbium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet). The Er:YAG laser in the device is combined with a small adapter which contains the drug to be delivered, in liquid form, in addition to a chamber containing water, which acts as a driving fluid.
According to the research brief, the laser is designed to be capable of pushing a beam, containing the medicine, at a force that is capable of penetrating the skin but at a level which will not cause pain or itching, and avoiding the familiar need to cry ‘ouch!’
The skin is penetration through the generation of tiny shock waves. The speed of the laser is around 100 feet (or 30 meters) per second) and takes just 250 millionths of a second for each pulse.
The lead researcher, Professor Yoh is quoted by Health.org as saying: ““In the immediate future, this technology could be most easily adopted to situations where small doses of drugs are injected at multiple sites. Further work would be necessary to adopt it for scenarios like mass vaccine injections for children.”
The research team based at the Seoul National University have published their development in the Optical Society's journal Optics Letters.
At present, trials have only been carried out on guinea pigs. The next stage is to undertake clinical trials on people.