Development of a dissolvable microneedle influenza vaccine patch

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Allen, Evin A.
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University College Cork
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Delivery of large molecular weight biological molecules to the epidermis and dermis is constrained by the tough outer layer of the epidermis, the stratum corneum (sc). Microneedle technologies attempt to overcome this physical barrier using sharp micron-size projections to penetrate the sc. Dissolvable microneedles (DMN), are a particular microneedle design whereby the needle structure is composed of a soluble matrix that upon application to the skin, dissolves releasing the vaccine load into skin. This thesis examines (1) the formulation and processing considerations around DMN fabrication, (2) the immunogenicity of DMN containing trivalent influenza vaccine (TIV) in pre-clinical mouse and pig models and (3) the thermostability of these DMN formulations during storage. The results demonstrate the importance of formulation for microneedle formation and mechanical strength. Trehalose and polyvinylalcohol based formulations produced optimal microneedle structures and were amenable to piezoelectric dispensing; allowing for precise multi-layered DMN to be fabricated. The effect of drying conditions was assessed and found to be critical for DMN mechanical strength and skin penetration. The antibody responses to TIV generated by DMN-mediated vaccination were comparable or greater to those induced by immunization with a commercial TIV via the IM route in mice. DMN mediated immunisation resulted in a significantly broader humoral response to heterotypic influenza viruses compared to IM delivery. Stored at 40°C, a licensed seasonal influenza vaccine incorporated into DMN array was thermostable for at least 6 month as determined by Single Radial Immunodiffusion and immunogenicity in mice. The thesis advances the field of DMN influenza vaccination by elucidating important processing and formulation considerations in the fabrication of highly reproducible DMN. It also demonstrated that DMN can induce broader, larger humoral responses than conventional IM administration while demonstrating enhanced accelerated stability. Crucially, this works advances an automated fabrication system that will allow for clinical translation of DMN.
Microneedles , Vaccine , Influenza
Allen, E. 2016. Development of a dissolvable microneedle influenza vaccine patch. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.
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