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Epicutaneous Vaccine Delivery Utilizing Tight Junction Disruption


Individuals with atopic dermatitis have an impaired skin barrier function and as a corollary have increased sensitization to a wide range of environmental antigens/allergens. Our laboratory identified that the disruption of a junctional complex called tight junctions (TJ) may be responsible for this barrier defect.  Harnessing these observations, we developed several TJ disrupting peptides that transiently induce barrier disruption in the skin.

The peptides were developed in collaboration with the laboratory of Dr. Ben Miller. We have found that an epicutaneous vaccine patch containing these TJ disrupting peptides stimulates a recall immune response comparable to that observed with traditional needle-based (IM) immunization.  This provides an exciting alternative route for vaccine delivery that would enable rapid immunization of a large population without discomfort or biohazardous waste. Current studies are characterizing the immune response stimulated by epicutaneous delivery after tight junction disruption and optimizing dosing/delivery methods.  Individuals interested in utilizing our technology (Patent application serial No. PCT/US2014/051532, entitled “Designed Peptides for Tight Junction Barrier Modulation”) can contact URVentures.

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