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Discovery in Nature elucidates immune cells in skin and supports novel vaccine approach
Date:2/29/2012

>"Putting this research in historical context, it helps explain the uniquely powerful efficacy of the first successful vaccine developed for smallpox by Jenner in 1796," said Kupper. "Syringes had not yet been invented, so Jenner administered the first vaccine by disrupting the upper layers of skin with a specialized needle, a process similar to how the vaccinia virus was delivered in our study. It is worth remembering that the smallpox vaccine remains the most effective vaccine in the history of medicine, resulting in the elimination of smallpox in human populations."

In the preclinical study in Nature, vaccinia virus delivered to the skin was found to rapidly recruit viral-specific T cells, called TREMs (T Resident Effector Memory cells), not just to the infected site, but also to all areas of the skin. These TREMs remained in skin, and provided rapid and effective protection against a second infection from the same virus. While skin was used as a model system in the study, the results are relevant to epithelial cells in the lungs, GI tract, and other epithelial tissues that are sites of viral entry to the body.

The findings of this study challenge immunological dogma by suggesting that the most important elements of T cell memory and immunity to infectious diseases may reside in skin and other epithelial tissues mediated by TREMs, rather than by circulating T or B cells in the blood. With regard to the impact on vaccine design and delivery, the study suggests that vaccines to generate TREM can be optimized by delivery through epithelial tissues, for a potentially more effective immune response than is achieved with conventional vaccine injection.

"This groundbreaking research provides a major opportunity to develop a new class of vaccines with improved preventative and therapeutic efficacy that can potentially have a major impact on human health," said Eric Stromquist, president of TREM Rx. "We are committed to translating this new u
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Contact: Barbara Yates
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Source:Eurekalert

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