DNA vaccines are being developed as a potentially safe and effective immunization platform. However, translation of DNA vaccines into a clinical setting has produced results that have fallen short of those generated in a preclinical setting. Various strategies are being developed to address this lack of potency, including improvements in delivery methods. Electroporation (EP) creates transient increases in cell membrane permeability, thus enhancing DNA uptake and leading to a more robust immune response. Here, we report on the safety and tolerability of delivering sterile saline via intramuscular (IM) or intradermal (ID) injection followed by in vivo electroporation using the CELLECTRA(®) adaptive constant current device in healthy adults from two open-label studies. Pain, as assessed by VAS, was highest immediately after EP but diminishes by about 50% within 5 min. Mean VAS scores appear to correlate with the amount of energy delivered and depth of needle insertion, especially for intramuscular EP. Mean scores did not exceed 7 out of 10 or 3 out of 10 for IM and ID EP, respectively. The majority of adverse events included mild to moderate injection site reactions that resolved within one day. No deaths or serious adverse events were reported during the course of either study. Overall, injection followed by EP with the CELLECTRA(®) device was well-tolerated and no significant safety concerns were identified. These studies support the further development of electroporation as a vaccine delivery method to enhance immunogenicity, particularly for diseases in which traditional vaccination approaches are ineffective.
Keywords: electroporation; intradermal; intramuscular; vaccination; visual analog scale.