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Trudeau Institute announces latest discovery in vaccine development
Date:12/12/2011

Saranac Lake, N.Y. New research from the laboratory of Dr. Elizabeth Leadbetter at the Trudeau Institute may lead to a whole new class of vaccines. Dr. Leadbetter's lab has discovered new properties of a potential vaccine adjuvant that suggest it could be useful for enhancing protection against a number of different infections. This new data will be published in the January 2012 issue of the journal Nature Immunology (Vol. 13, pp. 44-50). The paper, "iNKT cells direct B cell responses to cognate lipid antigen in an interleukin 21-dependent manner," is now available through Advance Online Publication (AOP) on Nature Immunology's website at http://www.nature.com/ni/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/ni.2172.html.

About the new findings

Effective vaccines train our bodies to recognize harmful microbes (such as viruses, bacteria and parasites) and typically contain disabled microbes, or even just components of microbes called antigens. Vaccination tricks our bodies into thinking we have been infected by the harmful microbe, triggering an immune response. Ideally, the vaccine produces a long-lived "memory" immune response to the microbe's antigens. This memory allows our bodies to respond more quickly and effectively if we ever become infected by the harmful microbe.

Most human vaccines contain adjuvants -- substances added to the vaccine to improve immune response to the antigens. Adjuvants increase the strength of the immune response and also allow for smaller amounts of antigens to be used in vaccine production.

Immune response to antigens results in the production of antibodies, which are a secreted product of B cells. Antibodies attach to antigens and help our bodies eliminate harmful microbes. Some T cells can help B cells make antibodies. Dr. Leadbetter previously discovered that natural killer T (NKT) cells, a special population of T cells,
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Contact: Kim Godreau
kgodreau@trudeauinstitute.org
518-891-3080 x561
Trudeau Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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