Needleless vaccines

November 1, 2017
This article appeared in Berkeley Engineer magazine, Fall 2017

Mucojet prototypeMucoJet prototype (Photo by Stephen McNally)Imagine giving yourself a vaccine, using a needleless technology that jet releases a stream of vaccine inside your mouth. This may soon be possible, thanks to technology developed by Berkeley researchers. A recent study demonstrated that their portable technology, called MucoJet, effectively delivers vaccine-sized molecules to immune cells in the mouths of animals. Although the study did not test vaccine delivery in people, MucoJet is a step toward improved oral vaccine delivery, which holds the promise of building immunity in the mouth’s buccal region of cells, where many infections enter the body. Data suggests that the MucoJet can trigger an immune response that is as good as or better than delivery with a needle, especially for mucosal pathogens. The researchers hope the MucoJet — developed by researchers in the labs of Dorian Liepmann, professor of mechanical engineering and bioengineering, and Niren Murthy, professor of bioengineering — can be available in five to 10 years.