New research, led by Professor Mark Kendall, from UQ Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, demonstrates that a vaccine delivered by a Nanopatchï induces a similarly protective immune response as a vaccine delivered by needle and syringe, but uses 100 times less vaccine. This discovery has implications for many vaccination programs in both industrialised and developing nations, which must overcome issues with vaccine shortages and distribution. Being both painless and needle-free, the nanopatch offers hope for those with needle phobia, as well as improving the vaccination experience for young children. The Nanopatch targeted specific antigen-presenting cells found in a narrow layer just beneath the skin surface and as a result we used less than one hundredth of the dose used by a needle while stimulating a comparable immune response, Professor Kendall said. Our result is ten times better than the best results achieved by other delivery methods and does not require the use of other immune stimulants, called adjuvants, or multiple vaccinations. Because the Nanopatch requires neither a trained practitioner to administer it nor refrigeration, it has enormous potential cheaply deliver vaccines in developing nations, he said. Professor Kendall said the Nanopatchï 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. “This is an exciting discovery and our next step is
to prove the effectiveness of Nanopatches in human clinical trials,” he said. Professor Kendall’s team includes researchers from UQ’s Diamantina Institute for Cancer, Immunology and Metabolic Medicine and Faculty of Health Sciences, as well as the University of Melbourne. The work was supported by the Australian Research Council, the National Health and Medical Research Council, and the Queensland Government’s Smart State Scheme. AIBN is a multidisciplinary research institute focused on addressing some of the intricate problems in the areas of health, energy and the environment. – The University of Queensland (UQ) is one of Australia’s premier learning and research institutions. It is the oldest university in Queensland and has produced generations of graduates who have gone on to become leaders in all areas of society and industry. The University is a founding member of the national Group of Eight, an alliance of research-strong “sandstone” universities committed to ensuring that Australia has higher education institutions which are genuinely world class. It belongs also to the global Universitas 21 alliance. This group aims to enhance the quality of university outcomes through international benchmarking and a joint venture e-learning project with The Thomson Corporation. UQ continues to attract the vast majority of the state’s highest academic achievers and is renowned nationally and internationally for the quality of its teaching and research. In 1998-99 it was named Australia’s University of the Year and it continues to enjoy the highest overall rating for Queensland universities in the annual Good Universities Guide. UQ remains the most successful Australian university in winning and being shortlisted for Australian Awards for University Teaching
since they were established in 1997. On a variety of measures it is one of the top three or four research universities in the country and this success was underlined last year when it celebrated its 5000th PhD graduation. UQ also is building a cluster of international-quality research centres and institutes that will keep it at the frontiers of emerging research fields, particularly the biosciences. The University of Queensland’s graduates have a strong record of success in attaining employment and income levels well above average. UQ qualifications are highly regarded by employers everywhere and our graduates form a powerful network of success across all industries and endeavours in all corners of the globe. In recent years, the international standing of UQ has been reinforced with a rapid growth in fee-paying students from abroad, as well as strong growth in postgraduate studies. – Professor Mark Kendall Biography; Professor Kendall joined the University of Queensland from the University of Oxford, where he was Associate Director of the PowderJect Centre for Gene and Drug Delivery Research, University Research Lecturer (Engineering Science) and Lecturer (Magdalen College). He also has both research commercialisation and consultancy experience, working with companies in the areas of drug delivery devices and vaccines. He is currently based at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN), and has a joint appointment with the Diamantina Institute and the Faculty of Health Sciences. Research Interests; Professor Kendall and his team focuses on the delivery of biomolecules and stimuli to cells in skin (and other soft tissue) using physical methods – putting vaccines where they need to go to generate far better immune responses than the needle and syringe. The goal is novel delivery strategies for step-change improvements in the treatment and vaccination of key major diseases. news from uq.edu.au
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