Engineers from MIT have created a new 3D fabrication method that is able to generate a new type of drug carrying particle that could allow the delivery of medical vaccines that can deliver more than one dose. That means the potential for vaccines that people normally have to come in for a second dose, meaning another shot, could be delivered with a single injection.
Being able to deliver multiple dose in one injection could make a huge difference for diseases and other conditions the vaccines are for since there are always a number of people who don’t return for their second dose. The particles that MIT invented look like tiny coffee cups and those cups can be filled with a drug or vaccine and sealed with a lid.
The particles are biocompatible and are made from an FDA-approved polymer that can be designed to degrade at specific times. When that degradation happens, the contents of the cup spills out into the person. The team says that the particles can be programmed to release the contents of the tiny cups at a precise and predictable time. This is huge for areas where compliance with follow up injections is poor.
The team says that the breakthrough could allow babies in developing nations, where they might not see a doctor often, to receive injections at birth that could deliver multiple doses needed for their first one to two years of life. The sealable polymer cup used by the researchers is made from PLGA and is a material used in implants, sutures, and prosthetic devices already.
The rate that the PLGA degrades after injection, and releases the medication is determined by the molecular weight of the material. In testing the team injected the material into lab rats and the particles released in harp bursts without any prior leakage at 9, 20, and 41 days after injection. The team is currently looking at ways to ensure that the encapsulated drug or vaccine is stable at body temperature for extended periods of time.