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Topic: Ultrasound-facilitated Transdermal Diffusion

Name: Kristina Pao

Advisor: Carr Everbach

In an age of rapidly developing medical technology, the popularity and need for a noninvasive means of drug delivery is growing. Transdermal medication delivery has shown to be a success for small molecules like nicotine and some female hormones. However, diffusion of large molecules across skin requires active facilitation. Methods currently studied include ultrasound, iontophoresis, and microneedle arrays.

The aim of this project would be to study the effects of ultrasound on a semi-permeable membrane (fake skin) in hopes of finding the intensity and duration range of ultrasound needed to optimize the delivery of macromolecules without damage to the membrane. Design parameters include the development of a plexi-glass container in which to situate the "skin" and monitor the diffusion effects of large molecules due to ultrasound. Depending on the type of indicator used, chemical assays may needed in order to determine the amount of indicator that had diffused through the membrane transdermally. Another goal of this project would be to compare results using a synthetic semi-permeable membrane to the results using animal skin from a butcher shop or grocery store.

The results of this project have many implications in the future of noninvasive drug delivery. Ultrasound-faciltated transdermal diffusion (UFTD) may be used in anesthetics, pain relievers and large hormones. Also, UFTD can be used to deliver insulin to diabetics and erythropoietin to anemics. UFTD decreases the amount of biohazardous wastes created compared to that created by invasive methods. UFTD increases the efficiency of drug delivery compared to that of medications taken orally. And, UFTD increases the reliability of steady flow of medication over long periods of time.