‘Microneedle’ Gives Painless Injection

February 24, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. injection /ɪnˈdʒɛkʃən/ (n.) – the process of using a needle to insert fluid in the body
Example: The patient hates injections because he is afraid of needles.

2. patch /pætʃ/ (n.) – a small material put on skin, often for clinical purposes
Example: He put medical patches on his knee until the pain is gone.

3. vaccination /ˌvæksəˈneɪʃən/ (n.) – the act of injecting a drug that prevents viral infection and diseases
Example: Babies and kids are required to have vaccinations against measles and chicken pox.

4. motivate /ˈmoʊtəˌveɪt/ (v.) – to encourage a person into doing something
Example: His desire to treat illnesses motivated him to become a doctor.

5. release /riˈlis/ (v.) – to make something available for purchase
Example: The drug company released a new cure for the disease.


Read the text below.
Patients who hate injections can now have a painless option with newly-developed microneedles.

Scientists from the University of British Columbia (UBC) have developed a medical injection method that does not require big needles. Dr. Boris Stoeber [BAWR-is STOH-ber] led the project, which began in 1999.

The microneedle patch is a square, flat metal plate that measures eight millimeters. One patch contains 50 to 100 microneedles, which look like volcanoes through the microscope. Stoeber claims that the microneedles will feel just like sandpaper when pressed on the skin.

According to Stoeber, the invention can make the process of injecting medicine much easier. Diabetic [dahy-uh-BET-ik] people can benefit well with microneedles, especially when checking blood sugar levels. Vaccinations can also be done through microneedles. And more importantly, patients can take blood tests and other laboratory procedures involving injections without feeling scared of painful needles.

To provide proof, Stoeber tested his product on drug injection in 2004. Results showed that the microneedles were effective in injecting drugs and the participants reported no pain during the process.

The inspiration behind this invention came from Stoeber’s fear of needles during his childhood. He usually suffered from allergies and often needed injections. His painful experiences with needles thus motivated him to develop the product.

According to Stoeber, one patch will cost only 10 US cents. He hopes to release the product in the market by 2018. For now, UBC scientists are currently working on getting more scientific findings to improve the microneedles’ design and efficiency.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you think microneedles can really be a good replacement to traditional injection? Kindly explain.
·         In your opinion, how else can microneedles be beneficial in the medical industry?

Discussion B

·         How does technology affect the health industry? Kindly discuss briefly.
·         Do you think experts should further simplify medical procedures and laboratory tests? Why or why not?


February 24, 2014