Researchers have developed a new flexible and translucent base for silicon nanoneedle patches to deliver exact doses of biomolecules directly into cells and expand observational opportunities.

Purdue University researchers have developed a new flexible and translucent base for silicon nanoneedle patches to deliver exact doses of biomolecules directly into cells and expand observational opportunities.

"This means that eight or nine silicon nanoneedles can be injected into a single cell without significantly damaging a cell." So we can use these nanoneedles to deliver biomolecules into cells or even tissues with minimal invasiveness, "said Chi Hwan Lee, an assistant professor.

A surgeon performs surgery on the back of a hand of a patient who has melanoma. Purdue are developing a new flexible and translucent base for silicon patches to deliver exact doses of biomolecules directly into cells and expand observational opportunities. The doctors say skin cancer could be one of the applications for the patches.

Silicon nanoneedles patches

Silicon nanoneedles patches are currently placed between skin, muscles or tissues where they deliver exact doses of biomolecules. Commercially available silicon nanoneedles patches are usually constructed on a rigid and opaque silicon wafer. The rigidity can cause discomfort and can not be left in the body very long.

"To tackle this problem, we developed a method that enables physical transfer of vertically ordered silicon nanoneedles from their original silicon wafer to a bio-patch," Lee said. "This nanoneedle patch is not only flexible but also transparent, and therefore can also allow simultaneous real-time observation of the interaction between cells and nanoneedles." A study on the new procedure was published in  Science Advances.

Lee said the hope to develop the patch's functionality to external skin patch, lowering the pain, invasiveness and toxicity associated with long-term drug delivery.and toxicity associated with long-term drug delivery.

In this technology's next iterations, Lee said the plan to test the operational validity of the patch's capabilities monitoring cellular electrical activity or treating cancerous tissue. This technology aligns with Purdue's "Giant Leaps" celebrating the university's global advancements made in health, space, artificial intelligence and sustainability as part of Purdue's 150th anniversary. Those are the themes of the yearlong celebration's Ideas Festival, designed to showcase Purdue as an intellectual center solving real-world issues.