Microneedle array delivers vaccines without injections

February 11, 2013

A microneedle technique tested by researchers can deliver dried live vaccines into the skin. The method may prove useful for developing countries, as it eliminates the need for needles or refrigeration.

 

A microneedle technique tested by researchers can deliver dried live vaccines into the skin. The method may prove useful for developing countries, as it eliminates the need for needles or refrigeration.

Investigators with King’s College London applied to lab mice a silicone mold composed of several microneedles made of sugar. The needles dissolved when inserted into the skin. Researchers noted evidence that a subset of specialized dendritic cells in the skin triggered an immune response when the microneedle array was applied.

“When compared with a traditional needle vaccine method, the immune response generated by the dried microneedle vaccine (kept at room temperature) was equivalent to that induced by the same dose of injected liquid vaccine that had been preserved at -80 degrees Celsius,” according to a news release.

Researchers also said the microneedle technique may lead to infectious disease vaccination programs such as those for malaria, HIV, infant vaccinations, and autoimmune conditions such as diabetes.

The findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.