ChBE Seminar Series: Mark Prausnitz

Tuesday, April 1, 2008
11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Room 2110 Chemical & Nuclear Engineering Bldg.
Professor Nam Sun Wang
(301) 405-1910

Vaccination Using Microneedles

Presented by Mark Prausnitz
Georgia Tech

Although vaccines have become a cornerstone of public health over the past century, the conventional intramuscular route of delivery does not provide an optimal response. Alternate routes of vaccination that more closely mimic the natural portal of pathogen entry or target immune-responsive cells have been shown to produce more efficient and varied immune responses using lower vaccine doses. Motivated by these observations, immunization via the skin has received heightened attention, in large part due to the presence of Langerhans and dermal dendritic cells, which are powerful antigen-presenting cells residing in the skin.

To address the pain, variability and difficulty of intradermal administration via a fine-gauge needle, we and others have developed the use of microneedles as a transdermal vaccine delivery approach that should be a simpler and more cost-effective immunization method. Microneedles have been fabricated by adapting the tools of the microelectronics industry for inexpensive mass production. Microneedles typically measure hundreds of microns in length and are used as multi-needle arrays to (i) pierce the skin prior to application of a topical vaccine formulation, (ii) deposit antigen within the skin using microneedles coated with a vaccine formulation or (iii) inject vaccine into the skin through hollow microneedles. In this way, microneedles have been shown to deliver vaccines to animal models to elicit strong immune responses to a number of different antigens.

There are a number of reasons why microneedles offer a unique combination of advantages as a vaccine delivery platform, including the potential to be effective with a lower vaccine dose, provide low cost manufacturing, permit self-administration, facilitate safe disposal, allow storage at room temperature, and be amenable to rapid distribution. Overall, the expected efficacy, combined with a range of functional, cost, and patient compliance advantages suggest that vaccination using microneedles is a promising approach.

About the Speaker

Mark Prausnitz is Professor of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering and the Emerson-Lewis Faculty Fellow at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He has a B.S. (1988) from Stanford University and a Ph.D. (1994) from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Prausnitz' research interests concern microneedles and other microfabricated devices for drug and vaccine delivery across the skin and into the eye, as well as novel uses of ultrasound and related physical phenomena to enhance and target intracellular delivery. Dr. Prausnitz has received the CAREER Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation; Young Investigator Award, Outstanding Pharmaceutical Paper Award and Outstanding Transdermal Drug Delivery Award from the Controlled Release Society; Curtis W. McGraw Research Award from the American Society for Engineering Education; and TR100 Young Innovator from Technology Review. He has published almost 100 research articles, holds 20 issued or pending patents, consults for a number of companies, and serves as an expert witness.

Audience: Graduate  Faculty  Post-Docs 


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