Navigation Links
Army Researcher Develops Potential Vaccine Carrier That May Give Stockpiling Efforts A Shot In The Arm

SAN DIEGO, April 22, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- A researcher at the Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC)/San Antonio Military Medical Center (SAMMC) will present findings this week on a new potential vaccine carrier that he hopes will extend the shelf life of and aid in the stockpiling of critical vaccines.

U.S. Army Maj. Jean M. Muderhwa is slated to present at 12:25 p.m. Sunday, April 22, at the Experimental Biology 2012 meeting on a microemulsion he developed and that has been found to be both stable and a good candidate for delivering a variety of antigens. His findings will be presented at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology's annual meeting, which is part of EB2012.

"There is a synergy here," Muderhwa said of the microemulsion. "What I found is a composition that is transparent, is liquid and that has been sitting there (on my shelf) for six months" without degrading.

Muderhwa, deputy laboratory director at the Medical Center's Clinical Investigation Department, made the microemulsion with what seems like a simple recipe with five components, but it's how those five components interact that is quite special. He is hopeful that forthcoming animal studies will show the full potential for the recipe.

"There is a need (for new vaccine carriers like this) especially if we want to stockpile a vaccine," he emphasized. "The (U.S. Agency for International Development) and FDA are responsible for stocking, for example, the influenza vaccine in the case of epidemic. They have to deliver them as quickly as possible. So if you have a vaccine just sitting on the shelf for more than 10 or 20 years, you don't have to worry about its stability."

The first two parts of Muderhwa's concotion, oil and water, are the basis for just about any emulsion, many of which reside in most people's bathroom cabinets in the forms of creams and lotions. The third component, glycerol, is also used in a variety of skin-care products. The fourth component is a mixture of two high-molecular-weight, pharmaceutically acceptable surfactants (Span 80 and Tween 60). The fifth component, meanwhile, is an aluminum adjuvant-adsorbed protein used in vaccines to amplify the immune system's protective response to whatever antigen is being delivered.

Compared with the particles found in emulsions commonly used in creams and other substances applied topically, the particles in microemulsions are extremely tiny. And it's precisely this property that Muderhwa has harnessed and thinks deserves further study.

"If I were to make an emulsion (of oil and water), which is just a cream and white, that emulsion would separate within weeks," he said.  "If you make a vaccine containing an emulsion, it's only (good for) probably a few months because the emulsion is not thermodynamically stable. The surface tension is too high, and the molecules are repelling one another until the emulsion fails."

An everyday example of this would be the separation of salad dressing left in a refrigerator or pantry for a couple of days. But when vaccines separate, giving them a good shake doesn't do the trick, making the administration of them more difficult.

"You can make those particles in a cream smaller and smaller and smaller," he explained. "The way you do that is you have to lower the surface tension to near zero. You know if you take water and put it in the oil, they don't mix. So you have to add a compound that can bring them together. If you take egg yolk – it has phospholipids, and these are emulsifiers – that helps to bring the water and oil to combine."

Muderhwa used a series of emulsifiers, such as Span 80 and Tween 60, and glycerol as the co-emulsifier needed to lower the surface tension of the tiny water and oil particles. That was only the first hurdle to overcome. The real worry was how the then-four-part compound would react if he added a fifth, the adjuvant needed to amplify the immune system's response to an antigen.

"Microemulsions are very sensitive to change. If you add an extra compound, they (also) separate quickly," he said. "But what I discovered is that, if I take … an aluminum adjuvant, which is the only one approved by the (Food and Drug Administration) to be used in humans, and I mix that microemulsion with the aluminum compound, … it is still stable."

The aluminum adjuvant Muderhwa used is found in the influenza vaccine.

While microemulsions are now used for drug delivery, such as antibiotics and syrups, using them for vaccines could open up a new area of study, Maj. Muderhwa said.  These microemulsions are formed readily and sometimes spontaneously, he said.

"Another part of the presentation is for the future – to tell people that these products can be used as a tool to investigate the effect of the surface area on the immune response," he explained. "If you make the molecules smaller and smaller and smaller, what happens? What happens if you increase the surface area? It will be interesting for research purposes to see the effects when the surface area increases on the immune response using this compound."

Born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Muderhwa earned his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Languedoc Roussillon in Montpellier (France) and completed a postdoctoral stint in biophysics at the University of Minnesota.  He's also worked at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, where he spent five years working on prostate cancer vaccines in Dr. Carl Alving's laboratory before joining the U.S. Army.  Later on, he earned an MBA from Grantham University (St. Louis, Mo.) and a master's of public health from Kaplan University (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.).

Disclaimer: The opinions or assertions are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Army Medical Department or the Department of Defense.

For photos of Muderhwa and the compound, visit

About Experimental Biology 2012
Experimental Biology is an annual gathering of six scientific societies that this year is expected to draw 13,000-plus independent scientists and exhibitors. The American Association of Anatomists (AAA) is a co-sponsor of the meeting, along with the American Physiological Society (APS), American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB), American Society for Investigative Pathology (ASIP), American Society for Nutrition (ASN) and the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET).

More information about EB2012 for the media can be found on the press page:

About the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
The ASBMB is a nonprofit scientific and educational organization with more than 12,000 members worldwide. Most members teach and conduct research at colleges and universities. Others conduct research in various government laboratories, at nonprofit research institutions and in industry. The Society's student members attend undergraduate or graduate institutions. For more information about ASBMB, visit

San Diego Convention Center
April 21-April 25, 2012
Phone: 619-525-6213

Angela Hopp
Cell: 713.471.4541
Office: 240.283.6614

SOURCE American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Copyright©2010 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

Related medicine technology :

1. Northwestern Researchers Trial New Device that May Support Improved Newborn Health
2. UH Seidman Cancer Center Researchers Present Findings at American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting
3. SRI Researchers Validate Preclinical Effectiveness of Tuberculosis Drug Target that Could Shorten Treatment Time
4. Elsevier and the Fulbright Commission Honor UK Research Talent With the UK Scopus Young Researcher Award
5. University Hospitals Case Medical Center Researchers Search for Mysteries of Dystonia With Advanced Brain Imaging
6. SANYO Offers Researchers Energy-Efficient, Space-Saving Solutions for Biological Sample Preservation
7. "Scientific Oktoberfest" Draws the Worldwide Leading Researchers in the Field of Chemical Biology to Munich
8. CVS Caremark, Harvard and Brigham and Womens Researchers Say Medicare Donut Hole Can Lead to a Decrease in Medication Adherence
9. Researchers Find RapidArc® Radiotherapy from Varian Medical Systems Can Quickly and Accurately Deliver Total Marrow Irradiation (TMI) Treatments for Patients with Blood Cancers
10. Arkansas Researcher is Exploring MR-Guided Focused Ultrasound as an Adjuvant Therapy to Radiation
11. Aldrich Materials Science Endows New Materials Research Society Mid-Career Researcher Award
Post Your Comments:
(Date:12/1/2015)... , Dec. 2, 2015  A combination of detailed ... the first time in the surgical planning for separation of ... annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North ... --> Conjoined twins, or twins whose bodies are connected, ... rates are low and separating them through surgery is extremely ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... , Dec. 1, 2015  A large study ... drug tamoxifen while taking an antidepressant found no increased ... today in The Journal of the National Cancer Institute. ... Tamoxifen is a commonly prescribed generic drug taken by ... developing a recurrence. Tamoxifen is recommended for five years, ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... Wash. and VANCOUVER , ... Committee (DMC) meeting, OncoGenex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: OGXI ... is continuing based on the pre-planned interim futility analysis ... review, no new safety issues were identified by the ... all analyses and final results are expected in the ...
Breaking Medicine Technology:
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... ... and hematology continuing medical education (CME), today announced that the first annual School ... New York. , “The prevention, detection and treatment of gastrointestinal cancers are undergoing ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... , ... December 01, 2015 , ... Growth in medical ... due to decreases in utilization of hospital and nonhospital care, according to a recent ... Medical Benchmarks for Louisiana, 16th Edition , found medical payments per claim with more ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... ... images have been lifted as IMAGE Information Systems launches MED-TAB™ -- the world’s ... America Annual Meeting from November 29 to December 4, 2015. , MED-TAB ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... ... Inc. (“Visage”), a wholly owned subsidiary of Pro Medicus Ltd. (ASX: PME), has ... the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) 2015 annual meeting through December 3 ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... December 01, 2015 , ... ... clinical solutions for the care management and population health arenas, is pleased to ... clinical and cost containment services, has successfully implemented the ACUITY Complete Care™ Management ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):