Researchers from the Nanyang Tech University in Singapore are developing a new approach to get rid of excess fat. They found that a skin patch with micro-needles is an effective way of delivering weight-loss drugs.
When the patch is placed on the skin, the hair-like needles embed in the skin and separate from the patch. After two minutes, you can remove the patch and leave the micro-needles within the skin.
The needles degrade over time and the drug molecules will diffuse slowly into the white fat below the skin surface. These fats will turn into brown fats, which are energy burning. Brown fats are found in humans when we are still infants. They help babies stay warm by burning fat as energy. As people grow older, we lose a huge amount of brown fats in the body and white fats replace them.
The new approach can help treat the obesity problem across the globe. People don’t need to have surgeries or prescribed medications to combat the problem. More often than not, obesity drugs need large doses and have bad side effects. Now people will have a relatively safer approach to fight against obesity.
Another advantage of the skin patch approach is that it is painless. It is also unobtrusive and affordable. It uses the person’s own fats to turn into energy; a process that naturally occurs in babies and has no known side effects.
At present, the researchers are doing more studies using the micro-needles on rats. They found out that rats treated with the drug have much lower cholesterol count than untreated ones. The NTU team also said that the prototype skin patch would only cost around $3.50 to manufacture.