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August 2010 Issue

Featured - Georgia Tech Develops an Improved Vaccine Delivery System
Dissolving microneedles on fingertip

Georgia Tech Develops an Improved Vaccine Delivery System

A new vaccine-delivery patch based on hundreds of microscopic needles that dissolve into the skin could allow persons without medical training to painlessly administer vaccines – while providing improved immunization against diseases such as influenza.

Patches containing micron-scale needles that carry vaccine with them as they dissolve into the skin could simplify immunization programs by eliminating the use of hypodermic needles – and their “sharps” disposal and re-use concerns. Applied easily to the skin, the microneedle patches could allow self-administration of vaccine during pandemics and simplify large-scale immunization programs in developing nations.

Details of the dissolving microneedle patches and immunization benefits observed in experimental mice were reported July 18th in the advance online publication of the journal Nature Medicine. Conducted by researchers from Emory University and the Georgia Institute of Technology, the study is believed to be the first to evaluate the immunization benefits of dissolving microneedles. The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

“In this study, we have shown that a dissolving microneedle patch can vaccinate against influenza at least as well, and probably better than, a traditional hypodermic needle,” said Mark Prausnitz, a professor in the Georgia Tech School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.

Just 650 microns in length and assembled into an array of 100 needles for the mouse study, the dissolving microneedles penetrate the outer layers of skin. Beyond their other advantages, the dissolving microneedles appear to provide improved immunity to influenza when compared to vaccination with hypodermic needles.

To read more about the microneedle vaccine patch, please visit http://www.gatech.edu/newsroom/release.html?nid=60096.

Posted by Sonja Roberts on August 31, 2010
Published in: On Campus

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