Making vaccines more effective

by Catherine Somerville
Dr Irina Caminschi.

(Medical Xpress)—Scientists have discovered an important mechanism in which a synthetic DNA targets the immune system that could significantly improve the effectiveness of future vaccines.

This was published today in the (PNAS) journal.

Burnet Institute Centre for Immunology Laboratory Head, Dr Irina Caminschi, has identified for the first time a new receptor (DEC-205) that binds to the (known as CpG),

"CpG is very immune-stimulatory, it makes the immune system more reactive, which is why it is used in vaccines. It is currently in clinical trials for cancer and malaria vaccines," Dr Caminschi said.

"While testing it for various immune responses, we discovered a mechanism that elicits that very strong reaction."

Though researchers have used CpG to enhance immune responses, it was unknown which receptor the used to actually grab the DNA and internalise it for recognition.

"Essentially by understanding how the immune system recognises this foreign, synthetic DNA and the rules that govern this recognition, we can exploit it so that when it gets used in a vaccine it works better," Dr Caminschi said.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Manipulating the immune system to develop 'next-gen' vaccines

Apr 05, 2012

The discovery of how a vital immune cell recognises dead and damaged body cells could modernise vaccine technology by 'tricking' cells into launching an immune response, leading to next-generation vaccines that are more specific, ...

Scientists discover new 'off switch' in immune response

Feb 28, 2012

Scientists from Trinity College Dublin have discovered a new 'off switch' in our immune response which could be boosted in diseases caused by over-activation of our immune system, or blocked to improve vaccines. The findings ...

Recommended for you

Food allergies more widespread among inner-city children

Aug 14, 2014

Already known for their higher-than-usual risk of asthma and environmental allergies, young inner-city children appear to suffer disproportionately from food allergies as well, according to results of a study led by scientists ...

User comments