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 epidermis layer of the skin. This mouse skin has been treated with ultrasound to permeabilize the skin and activate the skin’s immune cells. A fluorescently labeled vaccine was then applied to the surface of the skin and absorbed through the permeable area. The red illustrates the vaccine that has been diffused through the skin. The green cells illustrate the immune cells, or dendritic shaped Langerhans Cells, present in the epidermis. The collagen network of the epidermis appears in grey, and the holes are hair follicles.
We are working on a low-frequency ultrasound assisted cutaneous vaccination method which is non-invasive, pain-free, and enables the generation of a stronger immune response. This immune response is significantly greater than invasive syringe and needle based vaccinations. The new approach will allow us to develop immune therapies against cancer and possibly improved vaccinations against viral diseases such as HIV.