Safer, more effective vaccine delivery designed

Updated: Jan 29, 2013, 21:32 PM IST

Washington: Researchers have designed a new type of vaccine delivery that holds promise for improving the effectiveness of DNA vaccines, besides being painless.

About 20 years ago, DNA coding for viral proteins was found to induce strong immune responses in rodents, but so far, tests in humans have failed to duplicate that success.

MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) researchers have developed this new vaccine-delivery film with the help of polymer coated vaccines, the journal Nature Materials reports.

This type of vaccine delivery would also eliminate the need to inject vaccines by syringe, said Darrell Irvine, MIT professor of biological engineering and materials science and engineering, according to an MIT statement.

"You just apply the patch for a few minutes, take it off and it leaves behind these thin polymer films embedded in the skin," said Irvine, who co-authored the research with Paula Hammond, professor of engineering.

Peter DeMuth, graduate student in MIT biological engineering led the study.

These polymer films are implanted under the skin using micro-needles that penetrate about half a millimetre into the skin - deep enough to deliver the DNA to immune cells in the epidermis, but not deep enough to cause pain in the nerve endings of the dermis.