SUNDAY, JULY 22, 2018

Experimental approach to vaccines is needle-free

Needle-free vaccine absorbed through skin
Needle-free vaccine absorbed through skin | Courtesy of

In January 2015, Experimental Dermatology published the latest research on a new vaccination method, which is absorbed through the skin and completely needle-free.

Health professionals consider vaccines to be the most effective way to induce a response from the body’s immune system. Unfortunately, the needles necessary for vaccine injections can be costly.

A research team collected natural skin samples and treated them with cyanoacrylate skin surface stripping (CSSS) before applying 200 virus-sized particles to the surface of the skin.

After the application, scientists used microscopes to compare the particles. Initial results showed that CSSS helped the vaccine particles absorb into the skin and hair follicles, in turn engaging skin dendritic cells, which are critical to the skin’s immune system.

“For 10 years, researchers at Charité-Berlin and UPMC-Paris have been working together on how to use the skin immune system to develop a new, non-invasive vaccination method,“ Annika Vogt, a researcher involved in the work from the Department of Dermatology & Allergy and UPMC University Paris, Sorbonne Universités, said. “In this study, we show how a painless method helps such vaccines cross the skin. The method ‘wakes up’ skin immune cells so that they are ready to catch the vaccine and generate an immune response."

This discovery could result in a new method of administering needle-free vaccinations. Pairing skin treatment with vaccines that target skin immune cells may be the future of mass vaccinations.

There is also potential for pairing the needle-free vaccines with traditional vaccine injections to provide a broader defense system against viruses. 

“If we learn how to better reach and communicate with skin immune cells from the outside, we would be able to develop new tools for the treatment of allergies, inflammatory skin diseases or skin cancer,” Vogt said.