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Research group/lab

Energy Based Drug Delivery to the Skin

We investigate various energy-based devices including ablative fractional lasers and electronic pneumatic injection devices in order to optimize the delivery of drugs to the skin.

About our research group/lab

Our research

Why was this group formed?

Topical drugs have a very low absorption rate and therefore the bioavailability in the skin is only 1-5%. Some larger drug molecules are not absorbed at all and therefore have no efficacy when applied topically to the skin for dermatological indications. To overcome the main obstacle in the absorption op topical drugs, the stratum corneum, drugs can be injected into the skin using conventional hypodermic needles. However, (repetitive) treatment with conventional needles is associated with moderate to severe injection related pain and cannot be performed in patients with (severe) needle phobia. For this reason several energy-based devices such as ablative fractional lasers and electronic pneumatic injection devices have been developed, which can increase the skin bioavailability of the administered drug while significantly decreasing the injection related pain.

Our ultimate aim is to improve patient care by developing and evaluating novel patient friendly methods for drug delivery to the skin for dermatological and non-dermatological indications. 


What is the overall aim

We aim to improve efficacy and tolerability of topical and intralesional treatments for various skin diseases using energy-based devices. Currently, our main focus is on needle free jet injector treatments to treat keloids and hypertrophic scars in adults and children. In addition, we are exploring needle-free injections treatments for other dermatological and non-dermatological indications.


What type of research do we focus on in this group?

  • Double blind, randomized, placebo-controlled (split-lesion), clinical trials in which we investigate intralesional treatment with bleomycin vs. placebo using an electronic pneumatic jet injector to treat adult patients with keloids (collaboration with Centre for Human Drug Research and Leiden Academic Centre for Drug Research, Leiden).
  • Retrospective cohort studies in which we investigate the real-world effectiveness, tolerability and patients preferences of electronic pneumatic jet injector-assisted intralesional corticosteroid treatment in adults and children with recalcitrant keloids and hypertrophic scars.
  • Pre-clinical research using porcine animal models (collaboration with the University in Copenhagen).
  • Ex-vivo (imaging) research in healthy and pathological human and pig skin (collaboration with the University of Copenhagen and Amsterdam University Medical Center).
  • Basic research studies concerning needle free jet injectors (collaboration with Centre for Human Drug Research and Leiden Academic Centre for Drug Research, Leiden and Technical University of Twente).

Our projects

Key Publications

Bekkers V., Bik L., van Huijstee J., Wolkerstorfer A., Prens E., MD, van Doorn MBA. (2022)

Efficacy and safety of needle-free jet injector-assisted intralesional treatments in dermatology – a systematic review [Submitted].


Bik, L., Elmzoon, I., Wolkerstorfer, A., Prens, E.P., Van Doorn, M.B.A. (2022)

Evaluation of needle-free electronically-controlled jet injection with corticosteroids in recalcitrant keloid scars: a retrospective study and patient survey [Submitted].


Bik, L., van Doorn, M., Boeijink, N., Wennekers, M., Meesters, A. A., Bloemen, P., Haedersdal, M., & Wolkerstorfer, A. (2022).

Clinical endpoints of needle-free jet injector treatment: An in depth understanding of immediate skin responses. 

Lasers Surg Med. 2022 Jul;54(5):693-701. https://doi.org/10.1002/lsm.23521


Bik, L., Wolkerstorfer, A., Bekkers, V., Prens, E. P., Haedersdal, M., Bonn, D., & van Doorn, M. (2022).

Needle-free jet injection-induced small-droplet aerosol formation during intralesional bleomycin therapy. Lasers Surg Med. 2022 Apr;54(4):572-579. https://doi.org/10.1002/lsm.23512


Hendel, K., Hansen, A., Bik, L., Bagger, C., van Doorn, M., Janfelt, C., Olesen, U. H., Haedersdal, M., & Lerche, C. M. (2021).

Bleomycin administered by laser-assisted drug delivery or intradermal needle-injection results in distinct biodistribution patterns in skin: in vivo investigations with mass spectrometry imaging. 

Drug Deliv. 2021 Dec;28(1):1141-1149. https://doi.org/10.1080/10717544.2021.1933649


Bik L, Sangers T, Greveling K, Prens E, Haedersdal M, van Doorn M (2020).

Efficacy and tolerability of intralesional bleomycin in dermatology: A systematic review.

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2020 Sep;83(3):888-903. https://doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2020.02.018


Bik L, van Doorn MBA, Biskup E, Ortner VK, Haedersdal M, Olesen UH (2020).

Electronic Pneumatic Injection-Assisted Dermal Drug Delivery Visualized by Ex Vivo Confocal Microscopy Lasers Surg Med. 2021 Jan;53(1):141-147. https://doi.org/10.1002/lsm.23279


Internal collaborations

Dr. J. Damman, Department of Pathology, Erasmus MC

External collaborations

Prof. Dr. Robert Rissmann, PharmD, PhD, Center for Human Drug Research and Leiden Academic Centre for Drug Research, Leiden, The Netherlands. (www.chdr.nl / www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/science/drug-research)

Prof. Dr. ir. David Fernandez Rivas, PhD, Technical University of Twente, Twente, The Netherlands (www.utwente.nl)

Dr. Albert Wolkerstorfer, MD, PhD, Department of Dermatology, Amsterdam UMC, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (www.amsterdamumc.nl)

Prof. Dr. Merete Haedersdal, MD, PhD, DMSc, Department of Dermatology, Bispebjerg hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark (www.bispebjerghospital.dk/english)niversity Medical Center (location AMC)

Technical University of Twente

Our team

Dr. Martijn van Doorn, MD, PhD, dermatologist – clinical pharmacologist (lead investigator)

Prof. Dr. Errol Prens, MD, PhD, dermatologist - immunologist

Drs. Vazula Bekkers, MD, PhD candidate

Drs. Kasia Kzdunczyk, PhD candidate

Contact:  m.b.a.vandoorn@erasmusmc.nl

Principal Investigators

Project Leaders