Gets better under the skin

3D-printed microneedle arrays aim for better effect in skin vaccination

2020/06/24 — To fight against viral infections and allergies, new drug delivery systems for vaccination can help to tailor vaccines to specific skin layers. Scientists from the University of Pittsburgh join efforts to develop a novel device for cutaneous vaccination based on microneedle arrays fabricated. The researchers are using a 3D printer from Nanoscribe to create microneedle array prototypes and use them as master molds in replication processes to upscale the production of dissolving microneedle arrays with nanoscale resolution.

According to Nanoscribe current routine vaccinations use painful hypodermic needle-based injections that deliver antigens into muscle or subcutaneous tissues instead of immunologically rich skin microenvironment.

Sharp tips and rounded bases

The microneedle design includes sharp tips, rounded bases, and undercut features. The tip radii of the microneedles are a key player in tissue insertion forces. Intuitively, the sharper the needles are, the better their skin penetration performance is. Further, the fillet at the base of the needles is critical for improving the strength performance of the microneedles during application.

Dissolving microneedle arrays are made of water-soluble biomaterials. These needles are mechanically strong enough in their dry state to penetrate the outermost layer of the skin, known as stratum corneum. Upon insertion into the skin, they then dissolve and release their cargo into the skin microenvironments.

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