Microneedle Technology Could Revolutionize Vaccination

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Microneedle Technology Could Revolutionize Vaccination

A patch of hope

By Working Nurse
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Imagine if routine vaccinations could be administered not with a hypodermic, but rather with a painless, disposable patch that patients could administer themselves. It sounds like science fiction, but vaccination patches like this are already undergoing clinical testing.

Enter the Flu Patch

We all know the importance of vaccination, but most vaccines require careful storage and have to be administered with a hypodermic needle, which many patients hate and fear. Atlanta-based Micron Biomedical, Inc., has developed an alternative: microneedle patches that can deliver vaccines without the pinch, poke or sharps disposal issues.

Scientists from Micron Biomedical, Emory University and Georgia Tech have now completed a phase I clinical trial of microneedle patches for influenza vaccination.

The trial, whose results were reported June 27 in The Lancet, found that the patches produced about the same antibody response as a traditional flu shot with no serious side effects or adverse events. Although the trial was small — only 100 participants, none of them children or elderly — the results suggest that self-administered patches are just as effective as ones applied by a clinician. 

Exciting Possibilities

The patches will still need to undergo broader phase II trials before they’re ready for market. However, Micron Biomedical cofounder Mark Prausnitz, Ph.D., a George Tech professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and coauthor of the Lancet study, believes that this technology could greatly expand access to important vaccines.

“With the microneedle patch,” Prausnitz explains, “you could pick it up at the store and take it home, put it on your skin for a few minutes, peel it off and dispose of it safely, because the microneedles have dissolved away. The patches can also be stored outside the refrigerator, so you could even mail them to people.”

Micron Biomedical is already developing patch technology for other vaccines, including measles-rubella.

 

This article is from workingnurse.com.

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