Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Type Of Vaccines Deliver Stronger And Faster Immune Response

Date:
November 28, 2008
Source:
University of Copenhagen
Summary:
A new vaccine principle is being developed by scientists in Denmark which, if it works to its full expected potential, could help to save millions of lives and revolutionize current vaccine technology. The 'InVacc' platform, as it is known, represents an advance on the original DNA vaccines and generates new vaccines with greatly enhanced properties.

A new vaccine principle is being developed by scientists at the University of Copenhagen which -- if it works to its full expected potential -- could help to save millions of lives and revolutionise current vaccine technology.

Related Articles


The ‘InVacc' platform, as it is known, represents an advance on the original DNA vaccines and generates new vaccines with greatly enhanced properties. The platform consists of a chain of amino acids attached to a gene of the virus being vaccinated against. This genetic cocktail is then inserted into an incapacitated flu-like virus such as the adenovirus and injected into the body, where it triggers a broader and more aggressive immune response, enabling the immune system to quickly seek out and destroy the disease when it invades.

"We are extremely excited to be working on the vaccine technology", says Associate Professor Jan Pravsgaard, the lead scientist behind the project. "The platform has proved very effective in our recent tests and could have enormous potential. In principle, vaccines of this type could be used to inoculate against a range of deadly viruses, bacteria and other disease-causing agents and even be used to cure certain cancers once they take hold."

Tests of the vaccine platform on mice so far look extremely promising with the scientists able to provide 100% protection against different, lethal strains of flu given to the test animals.

The scientists also believe that the new vaccines will be effective despite the ability of different viruses and bacteria to constantly mutate and develop resistance.

How the new technology works

The original DNA vaccines - the precursor of the present platform - consist of a single gene taken from the virus or bacteria against which protection is sought and is injected into the body. The alien DNA is then ‘read' by the body's host cells (transcription of the gene) and is converted into pathogenic proteins. Because these pathogenic proteins (antigens) are recognised as foreign, they are placed on the surface of the cell to alert the immune system and trigger an appropriate immune response. This, at least is the idea behind the original DNA vaccines, which use the more potent ingredient of a gene rather than live, biological material to activate the immune system.

DNA vaccines, however, have so far been ineffective because, in practice, they generate too few of the all-important antigens - the ‘alarm bells' that warn the immune system of attack. This is because DNA vaccines are unable to fully decode their contents and deliver their message to the immune system. In other words, the original DNA vaccines are unable to guide the body to ‘read' and process the particular cell pieces that are carrying the DNA vaccine, which in turn would ensure that the antigens are produced.

The scientists behind InVacc, however, have come up with a means to overcome this problem. Their key innovation - the chain of amino acids inserted into the adenovirus - promotes the decoding of the new vaccines and ensures that more of the antigens are shown to the immune system. The adenovirus used for the vaccines plays a crucial role in all of this because it helps to set off the necessary chain reaction that allows the vaccine platform to work. It does this by presenting the body with a recognisable threat. ‘Primed' to react to the adenovirus, which it has been exposed to many times before, the body becomes more sensitive to and hones in on the particular pieces in the body that are carrying the adenovirus (with the DNA vaccine concealed inside) and begins processing these cell pieces.

The second important component in the vaccine platform, the amino acid chain, is now also able to work and is critical to providing long-lasting immunity from disease. The chain, made up of 215 amino acids, functions to latch onto and drag up more of the important genetic material from the vaccines to the surface of the cells, thereby ensuring that more antigens are exhibited. The greater the amount of material raised to the surface fromthe vaccines, the more likely that the right attack cells are activated.

"The delivery mechanism provided by the amino acids is important for several reasons", explains Associate Professor Pravsgaard. First, the amino acid chain enables the vaccines to activate different profiles of attack cells. Second, it picks up more of the important genetic information from the inner compartment of the virus or bacterium - where for our purposes - the crucial DNA material is based. Attaching DNA strands from the interior of the virus to the amino acid chain is crucial to developing stable vaccines, since it gives the immune system solid data on the nature of the threat it is faced with, even after the virus or bacteria has mutated".

Deadly pathogens such as viruses tend to mutate when they replicate and are thus able to pass under the radar of the immune system and avoid detection. "A mutated virus is a bit like a virus wearing a disguise," explains Professor Pravsgaard. "Viruses possess a special protein surface or outer shell that they constantly adapt to protect their core DNA from being damaged. However, if we can give the immune system more intelligence about the virus from its conserved interior - which is less likely to mutate - we can then communicate the true identity of the virus. It's as if we were giving the immune system a fingerprint of a criminal with several points of identification, so that it can recognize the virus, regardless of its disguise".

The scientists from the University of Copenhagen predict that the new platform will protect against the vast majority of viruses and bacteria, where a gene can be identified and targeted with a DNA vaccine. Certain cancers such as skin cancer which have a genetic basis and/or a viral profile (e.g. cervical cancer begins with infection by the human papillomavirus) would also be candidates for the vaccines.

The Scandanivan company Novo A/S and the Novo Nordisk Foundation have such faith in the new technology that they have already invested funds to create a strategic plan for development and use of the vaccine. "The grants awarded through our Novo Seeds programme are only for very select projects that show outstanding promise, explains Novo Seeds Investment Director, Stephen Christgau." "InVacc is definitely one of those. Our grants will help the team to develop and commercialise their groundbreaking research and validate the advantages of the vaccine platform against competing technologies".

Peter Holst from the research team (together with the Technical Transfer Unit) is currently also seeking backing from international funds to take the project to its next phase of development and ultimately into clinical trials.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Copenhagen. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Copenhagen. "New Type Of Vaccines Deliver Stronger And Faster Immune Response." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 November 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081124130941.htm>.
University of Copenhagen. (2008, November 28). New Type Of Vaccines Deliver Stronger And Faster Immune Response. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081124130941.htm
University of Copenhagen. "New Type Of Vaccines Deliver Stronger And Faster Immune Response." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081124130941.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins