Making vaccines more effective

September 19, 2012 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.

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