SEOUL -- South Korea's government-funded research institute was allowed to go ahead with the commercial production of dissolvable microneedle patches using salmon sperm DNA that could be an effective alternative for the painless drug delivery of anti-cancer therapeutics and vaccines.
The green light from the Ministry of Science and ICT came after the Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials (KIMM), based in the central city of Daejeon, established a firm called "ADMBioscience" to commercialize double-stranded salmon DNA (SDNA) microneedles developed by a KIMM team led by Jeong Jun-ho.
SDNA, extracted from the sperm of salmon using a cost-effective enzyme-isolation process, was used as a drug-delivery vehicle and structural material with a microneedle system. Microneedles enable the painless self-administration of drugs in a patient-friendly manner.
"By adopting DNA material, we will solve problems of existing products and succeed in early commercialization and contribute to the healthy life of the people," Jeong said in a statement, adding that in other countries, vaccine technology using microneedles was still in the clinical phase.
ADMBioscience plans to produce about 200,000 microneedle patches per month while developing various needle patch products targeting the global market. Preparations for the commercialization of SDNA microneedle patches have been made since Jeong's team published a research paper through Scientific Reports, an open-access scientific mega-journal, in August last year.
Microneedles create small holes in the skin, through which a greater range of drug materials can be readily injected. They serve as pain-free, micro-scale devices with easy operation, while traditional methods induce pain or result in biomolecule degradation in the digestive system.
"SDNA microneedles will be effective for drug delivery, including the delivery of anti-cancer therapeutics and vaccines," Jeong's team said in the research paper, suggesting they can potentially be combined with other drug materials according to various therapeutic needs, including human growth hormone therapy, measles vaccines, and influenza vaccines.
"Double-stranded SDNA has the potential for use in biological, physical, and medical applications in optoelectronic devices, biosensors, or drug delivery," the team said.
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