Development of novel double-decker microneedle patches for transcutaneous vaccine delivery
Microneedle (MN) patches have great potential as transcutaneous vaccine delivery devices because MNs can effectively deliver vaccine antigen into the skin through the micropores formed in the stratum corneum by low-invasive and painless skin puncturing. This study aims to develop novel double-decker MN patches which have not only high safety and efficacy but also broad applicability to various vaccine antigens. We developed two types of MN patches (PGA-MN and Nylon-MN) that are made from polyglycolic acid and Nylon-6. In pre-clinical studies, both MN patches could demonstrably deliver antigens into resected human dermal tissue, prolong antigen deposition and increase antigen-specific IgG levels after vaccination compared with conventional injections. We demonstrated both MN patches could be safely applied to human skin because no broken MNs or significant skin irritation were observed after applications in the clinical research. PGA-MN was suggested to be superior to Nylon-MN regarding human skin puncturability based on measurements of transepidermal water loss and needle failure force. A high content of tetravalent influenza hemagglutinin antigens loaded on PGA-MN could stably maintain HA titers at 35 °C for 1 year. Overall, double-decker MN patches can reliably and safely puncture human skin and are promising as effective transcutaneous vaccine delivery devices.