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Injection-free vaccination technique could address global vaccine challenge for HIV, malaria
Date:2/4/2013

ctiveness of the microneedle array, they applied it to mice. Using imaging (in collaboration with Professor Frederic Geissmann, King's College London) they observed how the vaccine dissolved in the skin and were able to identify for the first time exactly which specialised immune cells in the skin 'pick up' this type of vaccine and activate the immune system. The researchers found the first evidence that a sub-set of specialised dendritic cells in the skin were responsible for triggering this immune response.

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 -80C.

Dr Linda Klavinskis from the Peter Gorer Department of Immunobiology at King's College London, said: 'We have shown that it is possible to maintain the effectiveness of a live vaccine by drying it in sugar and applying it to the skin using microneedles a potentially painless alternative to hypodermic needles. We have also uncovered the role of specific cells in the skin which act as a surveillance system, picking up the vaccine by this delivery system and kick-starting the body's immune processes.

'This work opens up the exciting possibility of being able to deliver live vaccines in a global context, without the need for refrigeration. It could potentially reduce the cost of manufacturing and transportation, improve safety (as there would be no loss in potency), and avoids the need of hypodermic needle injection, reducing the risk of transmitting blood-borne disease from contaminated needles and syringes.

'This new technique represents a huge leap forward in overcoming the challenges of delivering a vaccination programme for diseases such as HIV and malaria. But these findings may also have wider implications for other infectious disease vaccination programmes, for example
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Contact: Katherine Barnes
katherine.barnes@kcl.ac.uk
44-207-848-3076
King's College London
Source:Eurekalert

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