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17 September 2017, 08:19 | Silvia Roy
Biodegradable particles enable multiple vaccinations in single injection
Massachusetts Institute of Technology medical engineering expert Prof Robert Langer - for some years the engineer most cited in primary research around the world and the 2015 victor of the Royal Academy of Engineering's Queen Elizabeth Prize - has led research that could see all those jabs combined into a single dose.
Their one-shot solution stores the vaccine in microscopic capsules that release the initial dose and then boosters at specific times.
The researchers are now testing the delivery particles with a variety of drugs including existing vaccines and others still in development.
3 separate experiments, vaccine 9, 20, and 41 days after he was involved in circulatory systems of mice.
Typically, children are recommended to receive nine immunisation injections in their first year (five different vaccines covering 123 diseases with booster shots), and it's fair to say that it's rarely a pleasant experience for anyone. And there are a lot of them.
The list of necessary vaccines, including diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio, Hib and hepatitis B at the ages of eight, 12 and 16 weeks; a pneumococcal shot at eight weeks, 16 weeks and one year; the men B vaccine at eight weeks, 16 weeks and one year; the Hib/Men C vaccine at one year - as well as the ever-popular measles, mumps and rubella shots that occur at one year and at three years and four months - could now be bundled into one shot, a medical advancement unthinkable even ten years ago. A custom-built automated device fills the cups with vaccine, then lids are lowered onto the cup and the whole assembly heated to seal it.
They are designed so that their "lids" degrade at specific times, allowing the contents to spill out.
"We are very excited about this work", said study author Robert Langer, the David H. Koch Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, according to BBC News. Researchers are also working on particles that could last hundreds of days before spreading out into the body.
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The approach has not yet been tested on patients.
Led by Prof. Robert Langer, the team developed microparticles made from a biocompatible, biodegradable, FDA-approved polymer.
Noting that ease and efficiency in getting vaccines into less developed areas of the world will have a positive effect on world health, Langer observed, "This could have a significant impact on patients everywhere, especially in the developing world". The polymer can be set to degrade in the body at different rates (with some molecular changes), allowing a drug to be delivered over a long period of time. "That might be the difference between not getting vaccinated and receiving all of your vaccines in one shot", McHugh said.
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