Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Design of dissolvable microneedles for intradermal TB vaccination

Tuberculosis is an infectious disease which is spreaded through the air. It is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis and it led 1.7 million people to death in 2016. This mortarlity rate is concentrated in developing countries such as Indonesia, Philippines, Pakistan, and South Africa. These numbers make very clear that there is a need for improved protection against Tuberculosis. Furthermore, one of the problems in developing countries is the cold chain transportation of vaccines.
In this project we want to develop dissolvable microneedles for the TB vaccination. Dissolvable microneedles have the advantage that the antigen is in dry form and therefore more stable which may avoid cold-chain transportation, important for low-income countries. Another advantage is that self-administration may be possible.
To develop dissolvable microneedles the project has three specific aims. 1) Selection of the optimal polymer formulation to prepare dissolving microneedles. Parameters that are important to study are mechanical strength of the microneedles, sharpness and microneedle dissolving rate in the skin. 2) Development of an automatic microneedle fabrication system. In this step, the accurate dispensing of antigens into the each microneedle mold and precise movement of molds will be studied. 3) Finally, this automatic fabrication system will be adjusted to prepared microneedles containing the antigen encapsulated in nanoparticles.

Jihui Lee
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