• transdermal delivery;
  • vaccine delivery;
  • nanocomposite;
  • polymeric material;
  • biomedical applications

Delivery of drugs and biomolecules into skin has significant advantages. To achieve this, herein, a nanomaterial-strengthened dissolving microneedle patch for transdermal delivery is reported. The patch comprises thousands of microneedles, which are composed of dissolving polymers, nanomaterials, and drug/biomolecules in their interior. With the addition of nanomaterials, the mechanical property of generally weak dissolving polymers can be dramatically improved without sacrificing dissolution rate within skin. In this experiments, layered double hydroxides (LDH) nanoparticles are incorporated into sodium carboxymethylcellulose (CMC) to form a nanocomposite. The results show that, by adding 5 wt% of LDH nanoparticles into CMC, the mechanical strength significantly increased. Small and densely packed CMC–LDH microneedles penetrate human and pig skin more reliably than pure CMC ones and attractively the nanocomposite-strengthened microneedles dissolve in skin and release payload within only 1 min. Finally, the application of using the nanocomposite-strengthened microneedle arrays is tested for in vivo vaccine delivery and the results show that significantly stronger antibody response could be induced when compared with subcutaneous injection. These data suggest that nanomaterials could be useful for fabricating densely packed and small polymer microneedles that have robust mechanical properties and rapid dissolution rates and therefore potential use in clinical applications.