Kim Brown is the AAPS communications and social media manager in the Public Outreach Department.
The main goal of a vaccine is to stimulate the immune system to fight against a pathogen that causes the disease. South Dakota State University (SDSU) Assistant Professor Dr. Hemachand Tummala and a team of researchers from SDSU and the University of South Dakota are currently developing a delivery system that mimics pathogens in stimulating the immune systems but not causing infection. This research will be presented today at 1:30 p.m. PDT at the 2013 AAPS National Biotechnology Conference.
Tummala and his team used inulin acetate taken from a fiber that comes from tubers, such as dahlias or chicory. The fiber is natural, inexpensive, and easily accessible and acts as a PAMP, or pathogen-associated molecular pattern. The researchers made pathogen-like nanoparticles with inulin acetate and incorporated pathogen-related antigens inside them. Once the antigen-presenting cells sense these particles as pathogens, they eat them and process them as PAMPs. This then aggravates the immune system. The researchers then tested the technology in preventing a viral disease.
The efficiency of the vaccine delivery system was then tested against the lethal challenge of the 2009 pandemic H1N1 flu virus. One group of mice was not immunized, while the others received a vaccine containing one or two antigens. Within eight days, 90 percent of the unvaccinated mice died. Those who received one antigen contracted the flu, and all but one recuperated. None of those who received the vaccine with two antigens acquired the flu.
The low cost of the technology, estimated at one or two dollars per dose, also makes it suitable for animal vaccines, Tummala explained. He is working with other SDSU researchers to apply the delivery to sheep and swine vaccines.
To read more about his research, view his abstract, no. M1032, through the 2013 AAPS National Biotechnology Conference MyAgenda Planner or come visit us on-site in San Diego.