Researchers at the Harvard Wyss Institute have developed a biomaterial-based vaccine technology that could provide prophylactic protection against bacterial infection and septic shock. The technology is delivered as a biomaterial scaffold. Once inside the body, it captures bacterial pathogens and then recruits and activates dendritic cells to initiate a broad immune response against the chosen pathogen. To date, technology has demonstrated protective efficacy against sepsis in animals.
Bacterial infections, formerly controllable with antibiotics, are becoming a growing problem with increasing bacterial resistance. Sepsis is a life-threatening condition that kills millions each year and is the most serious manifestation of this problem. Despite the prolific nature of associated microbes, we currently have no vaccines that can prepare our immune system to fight them more effectively.
This latest technology aims to change that. The system, called ciVAX by the researchers behind it, combines two technologies previously developed into a powerful vaccination tool. One is a protein system that can bind a wide variety of pathogens and consists of mannose-binding lectin (MBL) that fuses with a portion of an antibody. The second is a scaffold biomaterial, composed of mesoporous silica, which has previously been developed by the research group as a candidate for the cancer vaccine.
The combination results in binding bacterial molecules of a desired pathogen to MBL into magnetic beads and combining these beads with a mesoporous silica biomaterial. Once implanted, the biomaterial scaffold recruits dendritic cells and activates them, causing them to present bacterial molecules to other elements of the immune system within the lymph nodes, leading to a broad immune response against the pathogen in question.
So far, vaccines have performed well in experimental animals. In one model of swine sepsis, the vaccine protected all four vaccinated animals, while four control animals developed severe sepsis.
“The protective powers of the vaccines we have designed and tested so far and the immune responses they stimulate are extremely encouraging and open up a wide range of potential vaccine applications ranging from sepsis prophylaxis to rapid action against future threats. of pandemic and biomass as well as new solutions to some of the challenges of veterinary medicine, ”said David Mooney, a researcher involved in the study, in a Wyss Institute press release.
Study a Biomedical Engineering of Nature: Biomaterial vaccines that capture molecular patterns associated with pathogens protect against bacterial infections and septic shock
Via: Wyss Institute
Top image: Credit: Shutterstock / Kateryna Kon. Second image: Credit: Wyss Institute