Replacement for Needles found...

From: Mike Lorrey (
Date: Fri Jan 25 2002 - 09:39:20 MST

Fascinating discovery of using lighters to give vaccinations using
electroporation, this could eliminate the problem of spreading AIDS in
africa through the reuse of needles by health workers;

NEW DELHI: An Indian scientist has successfully used a domestic gas
lighter to deliver drugs into mice through their skin, and suggested the
inexpensive lighters could be a welcome alternative to the needle.

Pramod Upadhyay of National Institute of Immunology says the
peizoelectric gas lighter is inexpensive and widely available and can be
used instead of a standard syringe.

Upadhyay believes his technique of immunisation "can influence the mass
immunisation programme and farm animal care in a big way".

The skin has long been seen as a safe and effective target for
vaccination as the epidermis (outer layer of skin) has a dense network
of antigen-presenting cells.

However, the epidermis is too thin for injection because the needle
passes straight through, a report in NewsIndia magazine - nature
magazine's science and policy round up for India, said.

A technique, known as membrane electroporation, has provided a means of
transporting DNA, peptides and proteins across the skin and cell
membrane. But it requires bulky power supplies and associated electric
paraphernalia, and so was largely ignored as a route to vaccination.

Upadhayay's innovation lies in his usage of a small piezoelectric
generator as a replacement for the bulky power supplies.

"At each trigger, a typical domestic gas lighter generates a voltage of
around 18 kilovolts within seconds," Upadhayay says adding this tempted
his team to study whether the voltage pulses generated by the lighter
could cause membrane electroporation.

In his experiment Upadhayay immunised one group of mice with chicken
albumen by electroporation by using a standard power supply and another
group using a modified domestic gas lighter.

"In both the groups identical immune responses were generated,"
Upadhayay reported.

But the work, supported by a grant from the department of biotechnology,
is far from finished and further trials are necessary.

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