Friday, 24 July 2015

This Biotech Discovery Means You’ll Never Need a Painful Flu Shot Again


Dissolving Needle Technology - MicroHyala

Diseases are infectious and are the major cause of death all over the world and hence the need of safe and effective vaccines is of great importance. Though the vaccinations are given with subcutaneous or intramuscular injection that has been administered by medical personnel having technical skills, it is also accompanied with the risk of needle related disease as well as injuries.

Besides this antigen solution need cold chain storage as well as transportation system and hence the development of vaccine which could be easy to use and administered, together with superior in stability of formulations is essentially important.Getting vaccinated is now no longer a painful ordeal since a group of researchers in Japan have tested a new `dissolving needle’ which seems to be a painless patch that one can stick to the arm and which tends to work well.

The dissolving needle technology is known as MicroHyala. Scientists have created a new micro needle patch that is made of dissolvable substance which makes flu vaccination safer, easier and painless by eliminating needle connected risks of injuries and diseases. Flu vaccination are delivered utilising micro needles which dissolve in the skin and protects a person against infection much better than the standard needle delivered vaccine according to researchers.

Readily Adaptable for General Practical Use

Transcutaneous microneedle delivery device that meets the requirements of the only application’ vaccination system, has been developed. The technique is readily adaptable for general practical use especially in developing countries with inadequate public health resources.

However microneedles which are made of metal, stainless steel or silicon tend to pose risks of fractures, with fragments left in the skin. Hence the development of a dissolving microneedle patch has been fabricated from hyaluronic acid a component of skin tissue. Researcher from Osaka University in Japan state that their dissolvable patch which is the only vaccination system of its kind tends to make vaccination less painful. Microneedles on MicroHyala tend to penetrate the stratum corneum that acts as a physical barrier on the outer layer of the skin and are dissolved by water in the skin.

The MicroHyala efficiently delivers the various substances which can be loaded in the microneedles to ample immune-competent cells like Langerhans cells, dermal dendritic cells and keratinocytes in the epidermis as well as dermis beneath the stratum corneum. They found that when they used the MicroHyala in delivering the flu vaccination, it was quite effective as the standard needles.

The New Microneedle Patch

Most of the vaccinations are administered under the skin or into the muscle with the use of needles. Though this is an effective method in delivering a vaccination, it needs medical personnel with technical skills, bringing about the risk of needle related diseases and injuries.The new microneedle patch is made of dissolvable material which eliminates the needle connected risks.

It is easy to use without the requirement of trained medical professionals and makes it appropriate for use in developing countries, especially where healthcare means tends to be limited. Professor Shinsaku Nakagawa, one of the authors of the study from Osaka University states the `their novel transcutaneous vaccination using a dissolving microneedle patch is the only application vaccination system which is readily adaptable for widespread practical use’.

He further added that since the new patch is easy to use, they believe that it will be particularly effective in supporting vaccination in the developing countries.MicroHyala, the new micronneedle patch is dissolvable in water and the miniature needles are made of hyaluronic acid which is a naturally occurring material which cushions the joints. When a patch is applied like a plaster, the needles tend to pierce the top layer of the skin and dissolve into the body taking the vaccine with them.
Designed to Dissolve in the Skin
The new system was compared by the researchers with the traditional needle delivery by vaccinating two groups of people against three strains of influenza namely A/HINI, A/H3N2 and B. There was no sign of any bad reaction to the vaccine to any of the subjects, indicating that it is safe to be used in humans. The patch also seemed effective wherein the people, who were given the vaccine using the micro needles, had an immune reaction which was equal or stronger than those that were injected with the vaccine. Nakagawa said that they were excited to see that their new micro needle patch was effective as the needle delivered flu vaccine and in some cases it was even more effective.

 The earlier research had assessed the use of micro needles made of silicon or metal though they were not considered to be safe. The materials used for micro needles also tend to run the risk of breaking off in the skin and could leave tiny fragments behind. With the new dissolvable patch this risk is eradicated since the microneedles have been designed to dissolve in the skin.

Nakagawa states that they have shown that the patch tends to be safe and works well. Besides this, it is also painless as well as easy for non-trained individuals to use it and that it could bring about a major change in the way vaccine is administered globally. The research had been published in the journal Biomaterials – SAR AKJ SAR.

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