Race to a Cure Authors
Mosquito Proboscis Inspired Needle
In 2018, Ohio State University researchers studied the ability of the mosquito to draw blood. They found that mosquitoes can draw blood without their victims knowing, and by applying biomimicry, the researchers could use this design for medical purposes. Bharat Bhushan, Howard D. Win Bigler Professor of mechanical engineering at Ohio State, published a paper in August of that year focusing on the mosquitoes' proboscis to make the mosquito proboscis-inspired (MPI) needle. As highlighted in the paper, mosquitoes belong to a group of organisms called arthropods who attack each other by biting and stinging. Mosquitoes have been reported to be among the various medically important arthropods, causing the highest amounts of death through diseases such as malaria, spread through the mosquito piercing.
The mosquitoes are able to produce a painless piercing of the skin using a mix of a numbing drug, a serrated needle design, and vibration during piercing, according to his colleagues. In his original concept, Bhushan proposed a novel microneedle with two needles. This allowed one person to inject the numbing chemical while the other administered the required medication. The second needle, which vibrated as it was inserted, was a replica of the fascicle found within the insect.
Image is courtesy of media.bioccompare.com.
Limitations and New Applications
This nanoneedle would be more expensive than a standard needle in terms of cost-efficiency, and its functions would be limited. The needle could not be used to inject intravenous fluids or extract huge amounts of blood as a result.
The MPI needle was then tested for use as a biopsy needle in July of 2020. The goal of employing the needle was to minimize tissue and organ damage while detecting malignant cells at an early stage. The placement of the needle must be precise in order to successfully target the malignant location and make an accurate cancer diagnosis. The problem with older biopsies needles was that they distorted soft tissue and organs, resulting in an inaccurate biopsy or under-sample. The harpoon-shaped notches at the needle tip and reciprocating needle cannula motions for incremental insertion were two features used in the MPI needle for a prostate biopsy. In the 2020 study to test the accuracy of the MPI needle versus traditional ones, the displacement of particle embedded tissue was tracked.
Image is courtesy of media.springernature.com.
Finally, due to the opposing needle-cannula motions and notches, the MPI needle was found to cause the least tissue damage. The findings show that using a needle for clinical biopsy operations can provide better insights into future biopsy technological advancements.
Article author: Idil Gure
Article editors: Sherilyn Wen, Victoria Huang