- Administration of vaccines may cause pain to the patients due to the needle stings.
- MucoJet Technology is a needleless pill-sized technology that is discovered to self-administer vaccines.
- The MucoJet technology is hoped to be released in the next 5 to 10 years.
Vaccines are painful to patients, recent research that could self-administer vaccines using a needless, pill-sized technology called Mucojet was conducted by UC Berkeley.
The research study did not test vaccine delivery in people, but however demonstrated a technology that is capable of delivering vaccine-sized molecules in the immune cells in the mouths of animals. This technology holds the key to improve oral vaccine delivery, and building immunity in the mouth's buccal cell region where infections can enter the body.
‘MucoJet technology is a needleless oral delivery system that is capable of self-administering vaccines.’
The study is published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
While holding the MucoJet against the inside of the cheek, it may release jet stream which can directly target the buccal region. The buccal region is rich in immune cells and is underutilized in immunology due to its challenge of penetrating the mucosal layer in the oral cavity, like that of the oral spray being utilized for influenza vaccination.
Kiana Aran, who developed the technology while a postdoctoral scholar at Berkeley in the labs of Dorian Liepmann, a professor of mechanical and bioengineering, and Niren Murthy, a professor of bioengineering, said, "The jet is similar in pressure to a water pick that dentists use."
MucoJet technology can deliver a high-pressure stream of liquid and immune system-triggering molecules which can penetrate through the mucosal layer to stimulate an immune response in the buccal cavity. Since, the jet is pressurized; it is capable of removing the stings of the needle.
It is a 15-by-7-millimeter cylindrical, two compartment plastic device. The components are 3D-printed from inexpensive biocompatible and water-resistant plastic resin.
The outer compartments hold about 250ml of water. While the inner compartment has two reservoirs that are separated by a porous plastic membrane and movable piston.
One of the interior compartment is a vaccine reservoir which contains 100ml chamber of vaccine solution along with a piston at one end and a sealed 200-micrometer diameter delivery nozzle at the other end.
The other compartment is a propellant reservoir which is composed of a dry chemical propellant containing citric acid and sodium bicarbonate and is separated from the vaccine reservoir at one end by the built-in porous membrane and movable piston that is sealed at the other end from the compartment with a dissolvable membrane.
How to Administer MucoJet?
The interior and the exterior compartments of mucojet is clicked together. The membrane dissolves and water will contact the chemical propellant thereby initiating the chemical reaction that generates carbon dioxide gas. The gas may increase the pressure in the propellant chamber and cause the piston to move. The free-moving piston may allow the uniform movement of the ejected drug and would block the exit of the gas through the nozzle.
When the pressure is high, the force of the piston may break the nozzle seal of the vaccine reservoir. The solution is ejected from the MucoJet nozzle may penetrate the mucosal layer of the buccal tissue that can deliver the vaccine to targets such as antigen-presenting cells.
Testing the MucoJet Delivery System
The research team has designed a laboratory experiment in plastic dishes that uses mucosal layers and buccal tissues from pigs.
The MucoJet technology was tested by delivering an immune stimulating protein called ovalbumin, across the mucosal layer.
The findings of the experiment showed an eightfold increase in delivering the protein within three hours when compared to a control experiment that administered ovalbumin with a dropper (oral vaccine).
The different pressures of the vaccine jet were also tested by the research team; they found that increasing the MucoJet output pressure can increase the delivery of the ovalbumin protein. The delivery efficiency improves with increased pressure.
Aran said, "The pressure is very focused, the diameter of the jet is very small, so that's how it penetrates the mucosal layer."
The ability of the MucoJet to deliver ovalbumin in the buccal tissue of the rabbits was also tested. This increased a sevenfold increase in the delivery when compared to the control.
The animals also had three orders of magnitude higher in Ovalbumin delivery through MucoJet when compared to the control.
Benefits of MucoJet Technology
- Portable technology, that is capable of self-administering vaccines
- Stores vaccine in the powder form
- Enables vaccine delivery to remote locations
The study did not compare MucoJet with vaccines delivered through a needle. However, the data results show that MucoJet was capable of triggering an immune response that was better when compared to a vaccine delivery through needle.
While, considering the shape, design and size of the vaccine,
Aran, said, "Imagine if we could put the Mucojet in a lollipop and have kids hold it in their cheek."
"They wouldn't have to go to a clinic to get a vaccine."
The researchers concluded that further research is required to test the delivery of real vaccine, and also develop an engineered version of MucoJet which is capable of releasing the vaccine internally after being swallowed. They also hope that MucoJet will be released within the next 5 to 10 years.
- Kiana Aran, Marc Chooljian, Jacobo Paredes, Mohammad Rafi, Kunwoo Lee, Allison Y. Kim, Jeanny An, Jennifer F. Yau, Helen Chum, Irina Conboy, Niren Murthy, Dorian Liepmann. An oral microjet vaccination system elicits antibody production in rabbits. Science Translational Medicine, 2017; 9 (380): eaaf6413 DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaf6413