Submitted by Matthias Oberli, Diviya Sinha, and Jeffrey Wyckoff of the Langer and Blankschtein Laboratories (Koch Institute and the Department of Chemical Engineering at MIT)
This is a picture of the dermis layer of the skin, 3 hours after an ultrasound vaccination treatment. The green linear elements of the image are the skin’s collagen fibers, and the red cells are skin’s innate immune cells. These immune cells continuously monitor the body for invading pathogens. All the immune cells that have changed the color from red to magenta have been activated and taken up the vaccine.
We are working on ultrasound assisted cutaneous vaccination, which means there will no longer be a need for invasive vaccination measures using needles and syringes. Rather, we pretreat the skin with ultrasound and then apply the vaccine directly through the skin in a non-invasive and pain free manner. Ultrasound opens pores in the skin for vaccine permeation and activates the skin immune cells. This new method for vaccination will allow scientist and physicians to non-invasively deliver vaccines for the immune therapy of cancer or the immunization against viral infections such as HIV.