Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Development of an effective, safe, and painless intradermal tuberculosis vaccine based on microneedles loaded with antigen-containing nanoparticles

Tuberculosis (TB) is a major global health problem caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb). In 2015, there were estimated to be 10.4 million new cases and 1.8 million deaths ascribed to TB, making it one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide. Unfortunately, the only current registered vaccine, Mycobacterium bovis Bacille Calmette-Guérin, remains inadequate. In addition to high variable efficiency (ranging from 0 to 80 %), it fails to prevent open lung tuberculosis in adults and can cause severe side effects in immunocompromised individuals. A new and better vaccine is therefore urgently needed. Such a vaccine should be more potent, safer, formulated to avoid cold-chain storage, painless, and preferably self-administrative. A promising approach to address these issues is the use of microneedle arrays loaded with antigen-containing nanoparticles. Microneedles advantageously vaccinate pain free, while antigen-loaded nanoparticles are expected to induce robust immune responses required for tuberculosis protection. Therefore, in this PhD project, the goal is to develop a vaccine based on microneedle arrays loaded with Mtb subunit antigen-containing nanoparticles.

Malene Neustrup
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