Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Vanderbilt scientists contribute to finding that could lead to the first effective RSV vaccine

07.02.2014
Vanderbilt University scientists have contributed to a major finding, reported today in the journal Nature, which could lead to the first effective vaccine against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a significant cause of infant mortality.

The Vanderbilt scientists and others analyzed in an animal model a new method developed at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in La Jolla, Calif., for designing artificial proteins capable of stimulating an immune response against RSV.

The virus, which worldwide causes nearly 7 percent of all deaths among children ages 1 month to 1 year and is the leading cause of hospitalizations among children under 2, has been notoriously resistant to vaccine-design strategies.

"This project is the first work in which a protein that was designed on a computer has been shown to work as a vaccine candidate for a human pathogen," said Vanderbilt's James Crowe, M.D., Ann Scott Carell Professor and a leading RSV researcher.

"We believe this will be one of the principal ways that vaccines are designed and made in the future," said Crowe, also professor of Pediatrics and Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology.

TSRI scientists, led by senior author William Schief, Ph.D., used a "rational design" approach that focused on specific binding areas (epitopes) on the virus.

Virtually all existing viral vaccines use whole (killed or weakened) virus particles or entire viral proteins to stimulate antibody reactions. These vaccines display virtually the same large set of viral epitopes that the immune system would encounter during a natural infection. Yet some viruses, including RSV, conceal their vulnerable epitopes.

Scientists can sift through blood samples of virus-exposed patients to find the rare, "broadly neutralizing" antibodies that hit those vulnerable epitopes. They also know how to map the precise atomic structures of these antibodies and their corresponding epitopes using X-ray crystallography.

"What we haven't been able to do is to take that information about broadly neutralizing antibodies and their epitopes and translate it into effective, epitope-focused vaccines," lead author Bruno Correia, Ph.D., a member of the Schief laboratory at the time of the study, said in a news release.

The TSRI scientists developed a new software app, "Fold from Loops," to design proteins that folded around their functional fragments more naturally in a way that mimicked the viral epitope and which could serve as a key component of an effective vaccine.

In rhesus macaque monkeys, whose immune systems are quite similar to humans,' the designer "immunogen" proteins showed great promise. After five immunizations, 12 of 16 monkeys were producing robust amounts of antibodies that could neutralize RSV in the lab dish.

Analyses of the animals' immune responses were performed in the laboratories of Philip Johnson, M.D., at Children's Hospital in Philadelphia, and by Crowe and postdoctoral fellow John T. Bates, Ph.D., in the Vanderbilt Vaccine Center, which Crowe directs.

Former Vanderbilt faculty member Barney Graham, M.D., Ph.D., chief of the Viral Pathogenesis Laboratory at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, also participated in the analyses.

Having proven the principle of epitope-specific design, Schief and his colleagues now hope to produce a working RSV vaccine. "We're also trying to improve this protein design method further and apply it to other vaccine projects, including HIV and influenza vaccines," he said in a news release.

Craig Boerner | Vanderbilt University
Further information:
http://www.vanderbilt.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Scientists uncover the role of a protein in production & survival of myelin-forming cells
19.07.2018 | Advanced Science Research Center, GC/CUNY

nachricht NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts
18.07.2018 | New York Stem Cell Foundation

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes

20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers

20.07.2018 | Information Technology

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>