Engineers at the University of Washington synthesized nanoparticles using an engineered protein to improve vaccine production and administration. Moving from attenuated or killed pathogens to protein-based subunit vaccines which are usually formulated with adjuvants, the researchers developed a calcium phosphate core-immunogen shell nanoparticle to exploit the potential of nanoparticles as effective delivery vehicles.
Preliminary studies carried out in mice have shown results comparable to those of soluble proteins in inducing an antibody response and class switch recombination. These nanoparticles are effective delivery vehicles as antigens are able to couple to their surface or get entrapped within their cores upon reaching the lymph nodes. This results in the activation of immune cells and eventually induces long-lasting humoral and cell-mediated immunity.
The development of these nanoparticles is not only useful for viral infections that are hard to vaccinate against, but also overcomes issues concerning the cold chain in vaccine manufacturing and distribution. Although only proven in mice, with further studies and investigations, the development of vaccines using this technique would greatly benefit the human populations especially during disease outbreaks.
Source: University of Washington