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A Review of Transdermal Vaccine Delivery

OCT 01, 2016 | NICOLA M. PARRY, BVSC, MRCVS, MSC, DIPACVP

Iontophoresis

Iontophoresis involves application of a small electric current to permeabilize the skin. It is a noninvasive and efficient technology for transdermal vaccine delivery, and is particularly helpful because, when using transdermal vaccine delivery, it can be challenging to accumulate enough antigen in the epidermis for effective exposure to the skin’s DCs.
 
In various animal studies, this technique has been shown to effectively deliver and generate an immune response to tumor antigens and hepatitis B vaccines. 

Elastic liposomes

There is also mounting interest in using lipid-based vesicles for transdermal vaccine delivery. According to the author, elastic liposomes are interesting in this regard because, unlike conventional liposomes and niosomes, they have fluid bilayers. “These vesicles are made from hydrophobic and hydrophilic moieties and therefore can accommodate drug molecules with a wide range of solubility,” writes Dr Ita.
 
However, despite their widespread use in transdermal vaccine delivery studies, the ability of elastic liposomes to cross the skin’s stratum corneum layer is controversial. Nevertheless, in one recent study they were used to
enhance the immunogenicity of the asexual blood stage antigen of Plasmodium falciparum, and resulted in a more intense and longer-lasting immune response to this antigen.
 
“There is optimism in the research community that eventually some of these vaccines will find clinical applications and assist in preventing the spread of infections and/or cancer,” Dr Ita concludes.
 
Dr. Parry graduated from the University of Liverpool, England in 1997 and is a board-certified veterinary pathologist. After 13 years working in academia, she founded Midwest Veterinary Pathology, LLC where she now works as a private consultant. She is passionate about veterinary education and serves on the Indiana Veterinary Medical Association’s Continuing Education Committee. She regularly writes continuing education articles for veterinary organizations and journals, and has also served on the American College of Veterinary Pathologists’ Examination Committee and Education Committee. 
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