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Enhanced delivery of therapeutic macromolecules to the skin via microfabricated microneedles

Aims of Project

Over the past seven years my research team at the Welsh School of Pharmacy has become established as the leading UK institution for the exploitation of microfabricated microneedles for transcutaneous drug and gene delivery (Figure 1 A,B) and were the first group worldwide to demonstrate the ability of microneedles to facilitate gene delivery and expression in viable human skin (Birchall et al., 2005; Chabri et al., 2004; Coulman et al., 2006; Figure 1C).  Our research is now focussed on enhancing intra-dermal gene expression efficiency and demonstrating functional DNA vaccine delivery using optimised design-specific microneedle morphologies and a range of pharmaceutical formulations (Figure 1D).  In recent weeks we have conducted the first clinical trial worldwide to simultaneously investigate pain and sensation response, microchannel creation (Figure 1E) and re-sealing, trans-epidermal water loss and up-regulation, down-regulation or stasis of skin markers for stress, hyperproliferative and healing response following microneedle application.  The results from this British Skin Foundation funded study will inform a forthcoming clinical study investigating the immune response generated following the delivery of hepatitis B vaccine via microneedles.


Additional Information

Recently, significant funding has been awarded by the NIH (Cardiff University with Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University) to investigate the potential role of microneedles in pandemic influenza outbreaks.
Microneedle based immunisation against pandemic influenza

Project Leader

Prof James Birchall

Position:Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences
A recent image of Dr James Birchall
Telephone: +44 (0)29 208 75815