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Tiny, pain free vaccinations – microneedles and nanoparticles

Date: 2.11.2018 

If it's up to Ph.D. student Guangsheng Du, patients don't need to worry about big needles anymore. At the Leiden Academic Center for Drug Research (LACDR), he studied the use of microneedles and nanoparticles as a new vaccination system. "I want to create a more patient-friendly delivery method." He defends his Ph.D. on 30 October.

Kredit: Leiden University.In his study, Du combined microneedles (see box) with nanoparticles to make the first steps towards a new vaccination method. "Microneedles can be used to deliver vaccines in a non-invasive and pain-free way and induce effective immune responses," Du explains. "Secondly, nanoparticulate vaccines have the potential to improve the immunogenicity of antigens: the ability to provoke an immune response in the body. We can regulate the immune responses by modulating the characteristics of these nanoparticles."

Because of the unique properties and advantages of both methods, nowadays there are an increasing number of studies focusing on combining microneedle and nanoparticle technology. These studies aim to improve the immune responses by using a more patient-friendly delivery method.

Du developed two types of microneedle systems: hollow microneedles that can inject nanoparticulate vaccines and microneedles that were coated with the vaccine. Both the type of microneedle and the type and physicochemical characteristics of the nanoparticles appeared to have important influences on the responses provoked in the immune system.





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