The adjuvants present in vaccines have a bad reputation. For most people, they are only unnecessary compounds within a medicinal product. This is a misunderstanding since adjuvants have a critical impact on the success of a vaccination. In the best case scenario, one single vaccination shot would be now sufficient for conferring life-long protection.
Vaccines are one of the most powerful tools against infectious diseases. They protect against an infection by preventing the infection to arise. In a typical vaccine, attenuated or killed pathogens or just some of their sub-cellular components are injected into the body. The immune system responds to those foreign components, producing antibodies and/or killer cells, which are able to fight the pathogen, as well as memory cells. The latter recognize the true pathogen after host infection, thereby promoting a specific and rapid response able to prevent the establishment of a disease.
However, the immune system often reacts only weakly to the attenuated pathogens or their fragments present in a vaccine. Thus, partial or short-life protection is usually stimulated. The adjuvants by themselves do not trigger an immune reaction, but given as components of a vaccine, they modulate and enhance the immune responses elicited, thereby providing a stronger, early and long-lasting protection. While searching for new adjuvants, the vaccine researchers at the HZI have now found the molecule "c-di-IMP".
"This molecule leads to a strong immune response and it is significantly more effective than known adjuvants," says Rimma Libanova, who is examining the molecule in her PhD thesis. To investigate how it works, she vaccinated mice with a harmless protein, which acts as a foreign structure for the immune system of a mouse. Like during a vaccination against a virus or bacterium, an immune response starts against the protein – without the danger of a real infection. One group of mice received the vaccine with the enhancer molecule, the other without the additive. After 42 days, she analyzed the immune reaction of the mice to the foreign protein. "We found a strong immune reaction in mice that received the optimized vaccine. Furthermore, we measured the stimulation of important effector mechanisms, which are key for the success of a vaccination," says Thomas Ebensen, who is working with Rimma Libanova on the new enhancer. Until now, the researchers were only able to show the effect in mice – but they think one step further: "With this new adjuvant, we want to improve already existing vaccines, such as those against influenza or hepatitis. Maybe it also helps to create new vaccines using component that in the past did not promote efficient immune responses using known adjuvants."
"The molecule might also help us to develop new vaccination strategies," says Professor Carlos A. Guzmán, head of the "Vaccinology and Applied Microbiology" Department at the HZI. His department is working on an alternative to the "shot": the snuff vaccination. Here, the vaccine is taken as a nasal spray to work where most pathogens enter the body: at the mucosae. Guzmán highlights, "c-di-IMP enhances also local mucosal immune responses, representing a strong candidate for the implementation of such type of vaccines. This is very important because mucosal vaccines can prevent not only diseases, but also to block infections before they even take place, thereby protecting also non vaccinated contacts against disease."
Original article: Libanova R, Ebensen T, Schulze K, Bruhn D, Norder M, Yevsa T, Morr M, Guzman CA. The member of the cyclic di-nucleotide family bis-(3', 5')-cyclic dimeric inosine monophosphate exerts potent activity as mucosal adjuvant. Vaccine, Volume 28, Issue 10, 2 March 2010, Pages 2249-2258, ISSN 0264-410X, DOI: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2009.12.045.
Dr. Bastian Dornbach | EurekAlert!
BigH1 -- The key histone for male fertility
14.12.2017 | Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)
Guardians of the Gate
14.12.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie
MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
14.12.2017 | Health and Medicine
14.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
14.12.2017 | Life Sciences