As the American comedian,
Alan Sherman, observed in one of his songs -
“You gotta have skin,
All you really need is skin
Skin's the thing that if you've got it outside
It helps keep your insides in”….
But it’s by no means an impenetrable barrier. Injections
are the most common means of delivering drugs or taking samples
from the body – pushing a needle through the skin. It’s
invasive and painful and the majority of patients would rather
Now researchers at the University of Bath are working on a
variety of means of delivering drugs through the skin without
having to puncture large holes in it.
Approaches such as the process of iontophoresis, pioneered by
the University’s Professor Guy, where a small electric
current applied to the skin, through a device worn by the patient,
can help therapeutic drugs cross the skin into the body.
Reverse iontophoresis also allows samples to be taken from the
body and has been put to use in the Glucowatch which is helping
diabetics in the US keep track of their glucose levels throughout
the day without the need for routine ‘finger stick’
samples to be taken.
At the nearby University of Bristol, new approaches to
delivering drugs are of particular interest to scientists
researching the development of a “vaccine” to treat
Type 1 Diabetes – where a non-invasive system of delivery may
be the key to their success.
It seems that, when it comes to the future of Drug Delivery, the
skin’s the thing!