MIT invents a new 3D vaccine injection

“We are very excited about this work because, for the first time, we can create a library of tiny, encased vaccine particles, each programmed to release at a precise, predictable time,” says professor Robert Langer.

MIT engineers have invented a new 3-D fabrication method that can generate a novel type of drug-carrying particle that could allow multiple doses of a drug or vaccine to be delivered over an extended time period with just one injection.

The new microparticles resemble tiny coffee cups are made of a biocompatible, FDA-approved polymer that can be designed to degrade at specific times, spilling out the contents of the “cup.”

Langer and Ana Jaklenec, a research scientist at MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, are the senior authors of the paper, which appears online in Science on Sept. 14.

To achieve their goal, they set out to develop a sealable polymer cup made from PLGA, a biocompatible polymer that has already been approved for use in medical devices such as implants, sutures, and prosthetic devices. PLGA can also be designed to degrade at different rates, allowing for the fabrication of multiple particles that release their contents at different times.