Monday, 21 April 2008
International Vaccine Institute develops needle-free vaccines
April 21, 2008
By Syed Akbar
Scientists working on animal models have developed a special process to deliver vaccine onto the skin using a patch, without needles.
When it is applied in human beings, vaccination will become quite simple and virtually painless. Vaccines like cholera vaccine can be delivered without the use of needles.
Researchers at the International Vaccine Institute in Seoul, South Korea, of which India is a member, have now successfully discovered the mechanism by which a vaccine applied onto the skin can cause an immune response in the gut, as well as in the body.
The International Vaccine Institute is an international organisation which has been working for development of vaccines for the developing world. India is also a beneficiary of the IVI research. This new method is called transcutaneous immunisation or simply TCI. It involves applying a vaccine onto the skin using a patch. In previous animal and human studies, TCI was found to induce robust immune responses in blood and in mucosal secretions.
IVI's Tae Kyung Byun told this correspondent from South Korea that the IVI team had found in an animal study that dendritic cells (cells that capture vaccines and carry them to the immune system) were induced by TCI in the lymph nodes draining the gut. They were involved in the initiation of intestinal antibody responses, which are essential to stopping bacteria and virus infections.
"Such findings provide an explanation why intestinal immune responses are induced after skin immunisation, the reason for which had remained elusive until now," said IVI's post-doctoral fellow Sun-Young Chang.
The study suggests that an efficient "cross-talk" exists between the skin and gut immune systems and appears to be mediated by specialised dendritic cells in lymph nodes draining the intestines," said Dr. Kweon Mi-na, who led the study.
The IVI's study challenges the traditional notion that ingesting vaccines is the only means for inducing immunity in the gut. The results reported by Dr Kweon's team not only supports the notion that administering a vaccine in a skin patch can do the job but also provides a clue as to why this approach works, Tae Kyung Byun observed.
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