The application of electroporation to enhance transdermal delivery has opened up a new possibility to introduce larger molecules such as peptide hormones and vaccines as well as minigenes and RNAi etc. through the transdermal route. Many devices have been developed to deliver the pulse electric field needed to permeate the skin. These devices include both non-puncturing surface electrodes as well as puncturing electrodes of different geometrical arrangements. The latter type uses electroporation only to increase uptake of molecules injected through the puncturing electrode or syringe. Different electroporation protocols have been developed to maximize transport, uptake and minimizing pain. Synergistic effect of chemical enhancers and physical (sonic, vibrational and thermal) treatments are used to enhance the transport. This article reviews the patents pertaining to the instrumentation as well as application protocols of transdermal delivery, uptake enhancement and interstitial fluid sampling by electroporation.
Keywords: Electroporation, transdermal delivery, skin, transcutaneous permeation, electrode assembly, microfabrication, needle-free, painless, electrochemotherapy, electrogenetherapy
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