Navigation Links
New nanoparticle vaccine is more effective but less expensive

Good news for public health: Bioengineering researchers from the EPFL in Lausanne, Switzerland, have developed and patented a nanoparticle that can deliver vaccines more effectively, with fewer side effects, and at a fraction of the cost of current vaccine technologies.

Described in an article appearing online September 16 in the journal Nature Biotechnology, the vaccine delivery platform is a deceptively simple combination of nanotechnology and chemistry that represents a huge advantage over current vaccine methods. This technology may make it possible to vaccinate against diseases like hepatitis and malaria with a single injection. And at an estimated cost of only a dollar a dose, this technology represents a real breakthrough for vaccine efforts in the developing world.

A vaccination is an injection of a non-virulent form of a pathogen or molecule from a pathogen (known as an antigen), to which the immune system responds, destroying and then developing a memory for the pathogen. Later, when a virulent form of the pathogen comes along, this memory kicks in and the intruder is quickly eradicated. Most vaccines protect against viruses or bacteria, but vaccine techniques are also being explored as a way to kill cancer cells.

Thanks to recent advances, an immune response can be triggered with just a single protein from a virus or bacterium. Recent research has also shown that the best way to get sustained immunity is to deliver an antigen directly to specialized immune cells known as dendritic cells (DCs).

This technique is not yet used clinically because there are two difficulties to overcome in targeting the DCs: first, there are not very many of these cells in the skin or muscle, where injections are usually made, so obtaining an adequate immune response with a single injection is difficult; and second, activating the DCs requires co-delivering a danger signal of some sort, otherwise the immune system will just ignore it. Current approaches mimic bacterial molecules already known to the immune system, but this can cause side effects or even be toxic.

EPFL professors Jeff Hubbell and Melody Swartz and PhD student Sai Reddy have engineered nanoparticles that completely overcome these limitations. At a mere 25 nanometers, these particles are so tiny that once injected, they flow through the skins extracellular matrix, making a beeline to the lymph nodes. Within minutes, theyve reached a concentration of DCs thousands of times greater than in the skin. The immune response can then be extremely strong and effective.

In addition, the EPFL team has also engineered a special chemical coating for the nanoparticles that mimics the surface chemistry of a bacterial cell wall. The DCs dont recognize this as a specific invader, but do know that its something foreign, and so a low-level, generic immune reaction known as complement is triggered. This results in a particularly potent immune response without the risk of unpleasant or toxic side effects.

People have been exploring nanoparticles for a while, says Hubbell. Our ideas -- to activate complement as a danger signal, and to exploit the slow interstitial flow towards the lymph nodes are completely new. But it meant that our particles had to be much smaller than anything currently being developed. No other labs have managed to engineer so many levels of functionality into nanoparticles that are smaller than biologically occurring particles, he adds. The beauty of it is that once we have developed the recipe, any lab can make them.

Cost and logistics are important factors, especially for use in developing countries. Unlike other nanoparticle vaccine technologies that degrade in water and thus require expensive drying and handling procedures, the EPFL teams nanoparticles wont degrade until they are in the body. They are in liquid form and dont require refrigeration, so preparation and handling costs are reduced, and they are easy to transport.

The group is collaborating with the Swiss Tropical Institute in Basel to determine the strength and duration of the immune response in the context of a nanoparticle malaria vaccine. Toxicity studies are also in the works. Swartz says that the team is also planning to use this technique to target cancer cells.

If, as we hope, this vaccine technique can confer sustained immunity with a single injection for around a dollar a dose, without toxic side effects, it could have a real impact on public health, in the developing world as well as right here at home, says Swartz. More study is required to achieve these goals, she adds, but we have every reason to believe this technique could be in use within five years.


Contact: Mary Parlange
Ecole Polytechnique Fd rale de Lausanne

Related biology technology :

1. New Mexico firm to make flu vaccine at Wisconsin BioManufacturing facility
2. Studies Offer New Insight into HIV Vaccine Development
3. DirectPrep 96 Miniprep System for cost-effective, high-throughput plasmid DNA purification
4. The Fastest, Simplest, and Most Effective Way to Remove DNA Contamination
5. Merge offshoring jobs to "more cost-effective" workforce
6. Midwest is cost-effective for startup biotech companies
7. Video games promoted as effective health-care training
8. Business Intelligence and Process Effectiveness Processes
9. Tapeworms Chemical Trick Could Make Drugs More Effective
10. Symposium To Explore Information Technologys Impact on Improving Quality, Cost Effectiveness of Healthcare
11. Quantity versus Quality: Effective E-Marketing Relationships
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/27/2016)... , ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... for Amgen, will join the faculty of the University of North Carolina ... professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at UNC Kenan-Flagler, with a focus on the ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... BOSTON , June 27, 2016   Ginkgo ... biology to industrial engineering, was today awarded as ... a selection of the world,s most innovative companies. ... at scale for the real world in the ... organism engineers work directly with customers including Fortune ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... SAN DIEGO , June 24, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... that more sensitively detects cancers susceptible to PARP ... individual circulating tumor cells (CTCs). The new test ... of HRD-targeted therapeutics in multiple cancer types. ... therapies targeting DNA damage response pathways, including PARP, ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 24, 2016 , ... Researchers at the Universita Politecnica delle Marche in Ancona ... or pleural mesothelioma. Their findings are the subject of a new article on the ... are signposts in the blood, lung fluid or tissue of mesothelioma patients that can ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:5/9/2016)... UAE, May 9, 2016 Elevay ... comes to expanding freedom for high net worth professionals ... in today,s globally connected world, there is still no ... could ever duplicate sealing your deal with a firm ... passports by taking advantage of citizenship via investment programs ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... BANGALORE, India and LONDON ... Infosys Finacle, part of EdgeVerve Systems, a ... ), and Onegini today announced a partnership to ... banking solutions.      (Logo: ... banks to provide their customers enhanced security to ...
(Date:4/15/2016)... , April 15, 2016 ... the,  "Global Gait Biometrics Market 2016-2020,"  report to ... ) , ,The global gait biometrics ... of 13.98% during the period 2016-2020. ... angles, which can be used to compute factors ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):