Researchers from the University of California Berkeley have developed a needle-free delivery device for vaccines. The team published their work in Science Translational Medicine.
The MucoJet device is a pill that releases its cargo in a microjet when pressed up against the cheek. The pressure generated from pushing the device against the cheek is enough to force large molecules through the patient’s mucosal layer and into tissue concentrated with immune cells.
According to the team, the microjet is not painful and the device is simple to use. Children could self-administer a vaccine without the common, fearful reaction to traditional delivery methods like injections, the researchers said.
The MucoJet runs on a dry mix of citric acid and sodium bicarbonate, which combines with water from a separate reservoir when the patient bits into the tablet. The chemical reaction then moves to a reservoir containing the vaccine, pushing it out of the pill and into the cheek.
The researchers said the pressure generated by the tablet is similar to that of a waterpick.
The team evaluated its technology in rabbits and found that the device was capable of penetrating the buccal mucosal layer. They saw that rabbits treated with ovalbumin using the MucoJet device had antibody levels in blood serum and buccal tissue that were 3 orders of magnitue higher than rabbits receiving ovalbumin delivered topically by a dropper.
“MucoJet has the potential to accelerate the development of noninvasive oral vaccines, given its ability to elicit antibody production that is detectable locally in the buccal tissue and systemically via the circulation,” the researchers wrote.