Nanopatch targeted delivery of both antigen and adjuvant to skin synergistically drives enhanced antibody responses

Germain J.P. Fernando, Xianfeng Chen, Clare A. Primiero, Sally R. Yukiko, Emily J. Fairmaid, Holly J. Corbett, Ian H. Frazer, Lorena E. Brown, Mark A.F. Kendall*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many vaccines make use of an adjuvant to achieve stronger immune responses. Alternatively, potent immune responses have also been generated by replacing the standard needle and syringe (which places vaccine into muscle) with devices that deliver vaccine antigen to the skin's abundant immune cell population. However it is not known if the co-delivery of antigen plus adjuvant directly to thousands of skin immune cells generates a synergistic improvement of immune responses. In this paper, we investigate this idea, by testing if Nanopatch delivery of vaccine - both the antigen and the adjuvant - enhances immunogenicity, compared to intramuscular injection. As a test-case, we selected a commercial influenza vaccine as the antigen (Fluvax 2008®) and the saponin Quil-A as the adjuvant. We found, after vaccinating mice, that anti-influenza IgG antibody and haemagglutinin inhibition assay titre response induced by the Nanopatch (with delivered dose of 6.5 ng of vaccine and 1.4 μg of Quil-A) were equivalent to that of the conventional intramuscular injection using needle and syringe (6000 ng of vaccine injected without adjuvant). Furthermore, a similar level of antigen dose sparing (up to 900 fold) - with equivalent haemagglutinin inhibition assay titre responses - was also achieved by delivering both antigen and adjuvant (1.4 μg of Quil-A) to skin (using Nanopatches) instead of muscle (intramuscular injection). Collectively, the unprecedented 900 fold antigen dose sparing demonstrates the synergistic improvement to vaccines by co-delivery of both antigen and adjuvant directly to skin immune cells. Successfully extending these findings to humans with a practical delivery device - like the Nanopatch - could have a huge impact on improving vaccines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-221
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Controlled Release
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2012


  • Adjuvants
  • Dose sparing
  • Microneedles
  • Needle-free vaccines
  • Skin immunization


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