Posted: May 7, 2007

'Nanopatches' to make needles a thing of the past

(Nanowerk News) A painful jab in the arm could be a thing of the past now that Queensland researchers are working on a small skin patch to deliver life saving vaccines.
Premier Peter Beattie said the University of Queensland had been awarded a $1,240,519 Innovation Projects Fund grant to work with an international team on developing the ‘nanopatch’.
When all other partner funding is included, the total project involves an overall investment of $3.5 million.
“The patch will contain very tiny projections (micro-nanoprojections) that when applied to the skin will deliver the vaccine to the target cells below the surface,” Mr Beattie said.
“It’s a revolutionary approach that will overcome several of the problems of existing vaccine delivery – including the need for medical personnel to administer needles, the cost and logistics of storing and transporting vaccines, and hygienic needle use and disposal.
“All things considered, this technology will have a huge impact on the way vaccination programs are administered in third world countries with the potential to reach far greater numbers of people than under conventional needle technology.
“It certainly has the potential to make widespread vaccine delivery much more cost effective and, given the approach is pain-free, much more acceptable.”
Mr Beattie said the University would collaborate with the Seattle Biomedical Research Institute, the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH) and the World Health Organisation.
“This project also highlights Queensland’s growing credentials in the area of nanotechnology, an international market projected to be worth over US$2 trillion by the year 2015,” he said.
The Premier said the project would strengthen links with Washington as it aligns with the Queensland-Washington Memorandum of Understanding signed in May 2006.
The Innovation Projects Fund is part of the Queensland Government’s $200 million Smart State Innovation Funding Program, which aims to build world-class research facilities, attract top-quality scientists to Queensland and stimulate cutting-edge research projects.
“The Queensland Government has invested more than $3 billion in innovation, science and research since 1998. I think this demonstrates our deep and ongoing commitment to maintaining Queensland’s reputation as the Smart State,” Mr Beattie said.
Source: Premier’s Office, Queensland Government
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