Russian Innovation: Microcapsules to Carry DNA-Vaccine
According to news sources, these innovative micro containers have a multilayer biodegradable shell, which can host proteins, DNA and other molecules. These shells consist of polylactic acid and are the framework for vaccines against hepatitius and HIV. Russian biochemists have suggested a brilliant and simple technique for producing these containers. No complex scientific equipment is required; in fact the only necessary component is bench centrifuge. (In non- scientific terms, this refers to an apparatus labs rely on that has the unique ability to fractionate liquid specimens by creating spin-induced high g-forces. Effective and practical, these machines last for many years.)
The process works as follows. Researchers place protein, DNA or any other substance they want to be delivered inside an organism, inside a porous microsphere, made of calcium carbonate (CaCO3). The microsphere is then covered with a semi-permeable membrane, containing several layers of natural polymers (plastic or proteins). When these polymers become acidified, the calcium carbonate dissolves, departing the sphere via the polymer membrane and leaving behind the protein or DNA ready for transport.
The capsules for DNA-vaccines are tiny, with a diameter of about 1-2 microns, and they can be injected subcutaneously or even directly in blood. The small size is advantageous because it provides for an unobstructed flowing along blood vessels and through narrow capillaries. The cells absorb the capsules and their shell dissolves, releasing the active “filling”.
Russian biochemists have successfully tested these capsules on mice and cell lines. Quite simply, the technique effectively delivers treating agents to the cells that need them. The process can and is carefully regulated as the lesser the amount of inserted enzyme, the slower the capsule membrane deteriorates.
Common vaccine contains proteins of viruses or bacteria, and DNA-vaccine – genes, which encode these proteins. Due to the fact that they are alien to organisms, the antigen proteins of a common vaccine usually decompose rapidly. DNA in microcapsules helps an organism produce its own antigen, forming immunity. This process is slow, since capsules dissolve for at least one month and maintain antigen concentration, necessary for stable immunity.
Microcapsules do not need to be injected. DNA vaccines can penetrate the human body via sprays and are definitely the wave of the future in medicine, a legacy that draws closer and closer with each passing day.