Implantable devices for vaccine delivery

Theme 2: Advanced materials and manufacturing

A/Prof. Tim Dargaville

Dr. Mark Adams

Prof. Laurence Meagher

The aim of this project is to investigate polymer devices for vaccine delivery. Specially, the project will focus on degradable polymer tubes for delayed, bolus delivery of vaccines including tetanus toxoid and other vaccines and drugs relevant to wildlife, cattle and sheep. As polymer tubes with the desired degradation profiles and burst properties are as yet unknown, they will need to be synthesized and fabricated. Synthesis techniques will include ring opening polymerization of lactides and caprolactones and end-functionalisation with (meth)acrylate groups. Fabrication methods will include dip-coating followed by UV crosslinking, and additive manufacturing (3D stereo-lithographic printing). The devices will be fabricated into shapes suitable for subcutaneous implantation into animals, e.g. narrow tubes of length 1-2 cm. Complete characterisation of the synthesis and devices properties will be conducted and structure-property relationships established. Devices will be tested in vitro in gelatine blocks to simulate subcutaneous tissue and if successful release profiles can be obtained then more advanced devices with multiple cargos will be considered.

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