Microparticles created by new 3-D fabrication method could release drugs or vaccines long after injection.
MIT engineers have invented a new 3-D fabrication method that can generate a novel type of drug-carrying particle that could allow multiple doses of a drug or vaccine to be delivered over an extended time period with just one injection.
The new microparticles resemble tiny coffee cups that can be filled with a drug or vaccine and then sealed with a lid. The particles are made of a biocompatible, FDA-approved polymer that can be designed to degrade at specific times, spilling out the contents of the “cup.”
“We are very excited about this work because, for the first time, we can create a library of tiny, encased vaccine particles, each programmed to release at a precise, predictable time, so that people could potentially receive a single injection that, in effect, would have multiple boosters already built into it. This could have a significant impact on patients everywhere, especially in the developing world where patient compliance is particularly poor,” says Robert Langer, the David H. Koch Institute Professor at MIT.
Langer and Ana Jaklenec, a research scientist at MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, are the senior authors of the paper, which appears online in Science on Sept. 14. The paper’s lead authors are postdoc Kevin McHugh and former postdoc Thanh D. Nguyen, now an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Connecticut.