Novel Skin Patch Can Easily Administer Vaccines

Researchers have developed a new microneedle skin patch that may be able to administer vaccines more easily and effectively than other drug delivery modes, according to new research presented at the American Chemical Society (ACS) Fall 2019 National Meeting and Exposition in San Diego.1

“Our patch has a unique chemical coating and mode of action that allows it to be applied and removed from the skin in just a minute while still delivering a therapeutic dose of drugs,” Yanpu He, a graduate student who helped develop the device, said in a press release.2 “Our patches elicit a robust antibody response in living mice and show promise in eliciting a strong immune response in human skin.”


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To reach this conclusion, the researchers vaccinated mice with the newly developed patch, using chicken ovalbumin as a model antigen.

Compared with intramuscular injections, the microneedle method produced 9 times the antibody level. Compared with subcutaneous injections, the novel tool produced 160 times the antibody level.

The researchers reported having seen efficient immune activation in surgical samples of human skin, as well.

The researchers also say that using a patch for vaccines may help boost patients’ compliance, since it is more convenient and less painful than a syringe. 

According to one of the patch developers, Paula T. Hammond, PhD, while the new technology can deliver vaccines for different infectious diseases, it can also administer medication that attacks melanoma cells. Thus, the patch may be a step toward the development of a vaccine that treats melanoma.

“We are using low-cost chemistry and a simple fabrication scheme to transform vaccination,” Dr Hammond said in a press release.2 “Ultimately, we want to get a device approved and on the market.”

—Colleen Murphy


  1. 1. He Y, Hong C, Li J, et al. Synthetic charge-invertible polymer for rapid and complete implantation of layer-by-layer microneedle drug films for enhanced transdermal vaccination. Paper presented at: American Chemical Society Fall 2019 National Meeting and Exposition; August 25-29, 2019: San Diego, CA. Accessed August 26, 2019.
  2. 2. Skin patch could painlessly deliver vaccines, cancer medications in one minute [press release]. San Diego, CA: American Chemical Society; August 25, 2019. Accessed August 26, 2019.