Scientists develop way to delivery multiple vaccines in one injection

Scientists develop way to delivery multiple vaccines in one injection

They've created a method that allows a single injection to carry enough doses for the first one to two years of a child's life, with each dose released at a specified time.

In a paper in Science, Langer and Ana Jaklenec, a researcher at the Koch Centre for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT, along with engineers Kevin McHugh and Thandh Nguyen, describe a process called stamped assembly of polymer layers (SEAL), inspired by fabrication techniques for microprocessors, that makes a structure similar in shape to a coffee cup with a lid on it.

Reminiscent of a tiny cup filled with vaccine material and sealed by a lid that can be modified to break down and release its contents at a specific time, the new MIT-designed micro-particle could be used to combine all of those vaccines into a single jab. The particles are made from an FDA-approved and biocompatible polymer called PLGA, created to degrade at different rates to release the doses at different times.

For the first time, we can create a library of tiny, encased vaccine particles, each programmed to release at a precise, predictable time. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a technology that could allow childhood vaccines-for everything from polio to measles, mumps, and rubella-to be combined into a single injection, reports the BBC. These moulds are used to cast cube-shaped open-sided boxes, a few hundred microns along each side, from the biocompatible, degradable polymer PGLA (polylactic-co-glycolic acid), a combination of lactic and glycolic acid units polymerised together, which is already used for medical applications.

Noting that ease and efficiency in getting vaccines into less developed areas of the world will have a positive effect on world health, Langer observed, "This could have a significant impact on patients everywhere, especially in the developing world". "Part of the novelty is really in how we align and seal the layers".

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It involves a new 3D fabrication method.

The researchers state that the slow-release microparticles can improve "drug availability, reduce side effects and allow for more constant dose delivery".

The researchers tested the technology on mice, injecting them with three different polymers, each filled with a fluorescent substance.

In mice, the researchers showed that particles release in sharp bursts, without prior leakage, at 9, 20, and 41 days after injection.

A single injection of the cups was able to induce a strong immune response comparable to that from two conventional injections with double the dose, the scientists found.

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