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Novel molecules developed at UB can boost vaccine potency
Date:2/5/2008

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Two novel proteins studied by a University at Buffalo professor of microbiology and immunology appear to have the potential to enhance the production of antibodies against a multitude of infectious agents.

Terry D. Connell, Ph.D., professor of microbiology and immunology in the Witebsky Center for Microbial Pathogenesis in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, developed and patented the LT-IIa and LT-IIb entertoxins and their respective mutant proteins as new mucosal adjuvants, or boosters, that can enhance the potency of existing and future vaccines.

Connell and colleagues published five papers in 2007 describing their advances. They are the only research group in the scientific community investigating the immunology of these adjuvants.

The researchers currently are working to develop a safe and effective method to deliver the immune-enhancing molecules to the bodys mucous membranes -- the first line of defense against most pathogens -- to elicit protective immune responses on those membranes.

Almost every bacterium and virus that attacks us doesnt bore through the skin, said Connell. These infectious agents enter by colonizing the mucosal surfaces on the eye, sinuses, mouth, gut lining, lungs and genital tract.

To date Connell and colleagues have determined, using a mouse model, that the nasal passage is the best mucosal surface on which to apply LT-IIa and LT-IIb as mucosal adjuvants. Mixing a very small amount of LT-IIa or LT-IIb with an existing antigen and dripping the mixture into a mouses nose subsequently produces a strong antigen-specific immune response in the nasal passages, as well as in saliva, the urogenital tract and the bloodstream, their research showed.

In contrast, immunizing the mouse with only the antigen generates a much lower level antigen-specific immune response at those sites.

This method of application is particularly suitable for immunizing populations in u
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Contact: Lois Baker
ljbaker@buffalo.edu
716-645-5000 x1417
University at Buffalo
Source:Eurekalert

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