Background: The emerging field of microneedle-based minimally invasive patient monitoring and diagnosis is reviewed. Microneedle arrays consist of rows of micron-scale projections attached to a solid support. They have been widely investigated for transdermal drug and vaccine delivery applications since the late 1990s. However, researchers and clinicians have recently realized the great potential of microneedles for extraction of skin interstitial fluid and, less commonly, blood, for enhanced monitoring of patient health.
Methods: We reviewed the journal and patent literature, and summarized the findings and provided technical insights and critical analysis.
Results: We describe the basic concepts in detail and extensively review the work performed to date.
Conclusions: It is our view that microneedles will have an important role to play in clinical management of patients and will ultimately improve therapeutic outcomes for people worldwide.
School of Pharmacy, Queen's University Belfast, Medical Biology Centre, Belfast, United Kingdom.
Correspondence: Ryan F. Donnelly, Reader in Pharmaceutics, School of Pharmacy, Queen's University Belfast, Medical Biology Centre, 97 Lisburn Road, Belfast BT9 7BL, United Kingdom (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Supported in part by EPSRC grant number EP/H021647/1 and Action Medical Research grant number GN2024.
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
Received May 30, 2013
Accepted October 03, 2013