Nanomedicines and microneedles: a guide to their analysis and application
The fast-advancing progress in the research of nanomedicine and microneedle applications in the past two decades has suggested that the combination of the two concepts could help to overcome some of the challenges we are facing in healthcare. They include poor patient compliance with medication and the lack of appropriate administration forms that enable the optimal dose to reach the target site. Nanoparticles as drug vesicles can protect their cargo and deliver it to the target site, while evading the body's defence mechanisms. Unfortunately, despite intense research on nanomedicine in the past 20 years, we still haven't answered some crucial questions, e.g. about their colloidal stability in solution and their optimal formulation, which makes the translation of this exciting technology from the lab bench to a viable product difficult. Dissolvable microneedles could be an effective way to maintain and stabilise nano-sized formulations, whilst enhancing the ability of nanoparticles to penetrate the stratum corneum barrier. Both concepts have been individually investigated fairly well and many analytical techniques for tracking the fate of nanomaterials with their precious cargo, both in vitro and in vivo, have been established. Yet, to the best of our knowledge, a comprehensive overview of the analytical tools encompassing the concepts of microneedles and nanoparticles with specific and successful examples is missing. In this review, we have attempted to briefly analyse the challenges associated with nanomedicine itself, but crucially we provide an easy-to-navigate scheme of methods, suitable for characterisation and imaging the physico-chemical properties of the material matrix.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Analytical Methods Review Articles 2021