Nanopatch Delivers Vaccines

A nanopatch vaccine delivery system has been worked out by Australian researchers. Nanopatches are fingernail-sized dermal patches that use microscopic projections on their surface that hand vaccine off directly to the antigen-presenting cells just below the surface of the skin.

(Nanopatches for vaccine delivery)

Professor Kendall said the Nanopatch was much smaller than a postage stamp and comprised of several thousands of densely packed projections invisible to the human eye.

The influenza vaccine was dry coated onto these projections and applied to the skin of mice for two minutes.

"By using far less vaccine we believe that the Nanopatch will enable the vaccination of many more people," Professor Kendall said.

When compared to a needle and syringe a nanopatch is cheap to produce and it is easy to imagine a situation in which a government might provide vaccinations for a pandemic such as swine flu to be collected from a chemist or sent in the mail.

Fans of Philip K. Dick may recall an early use of the transdermal substance delivery idea in his 1960 novel Vulcan's Hammer:

Jason Dill put down the form. He opened a drawer of his desk and got out a flat metal tin; from it he took a capsule which he placed against his wrist. At once the capsule dissolved through the dermal layers; he felt it go into his body, passing into his blood stream to begin work without delay.

Transdermal drug patches were not commercially available until 1979, but Dick was ready earlier.

From Queensland press release via MedGadget.

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