This work reports a suction-based cutaneous delivery method for in vivo DNA transfection. Following intradermal Mantoux injection of plasmid DNA in a rat model, a moderate negative pressure is applied to the injection site, a technique similar to Chinese báguàn and Middle Eastern hijama cupping therapies. Strong GFP expression was demonstrated with pEGFP-N1 plasmids where fluorescence was observed as early as 1 hour after dosing. Modeling indicates a strong correlation between focal strain/stress and expression patterns. The absence of visible and/or histological tissue injury contrasts with current in vivo transfection systems such as electroporation. Specific utility was demonstrated with a synthetic SARS-CoV-2 DNA vaccine, which generated host humoral immune response in rats with notable antibody production. This method enables an easy-to-use, cost-effective, and highly scalable platform for both laboratorial transfection needs and clinical applications for nucleic acid–based therapeutics and vaccines.
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