Patent issued for lipid bubble vaccine delivery method

Officials with National Jewish Health recently announced they have received a patent for a new kind of vaccine that uses a small lipid bubble to deliver an antigen and DNA adjuvant.

Chairman of Pediatrics Dr. Erwin Gelfand and former National Jewish health professor of medicine Steve Dow are the creators of the new liposome-based adjuvant, reports. The pair told that live vaccines, containing weakened forms of infectious organisms, usually work fine for vaccines.

Vaccines containing dead organisms or pieces of the infectious organisms or their toxins, however, generally need adjuvants to boost their effectiveness. The most common adjuvant used for routine preventive vaccines in the United States is aluminum salt, known as alum.

Gelfand and Dow's new vaccine is contained within a liposome, which is a small vesicle comprised of a double layer of lipids. Inside the liposome is the DNA sequence that swerves as the adjuvant, Gelfand told

Dow said that, depending on the sequence, either the DNA molecule itself or the protein it codes can be used to stimulate the immune system.

This DNA molecule, Dow told, is fused to an immunogen, which is  a protein fragment that the immune system mounts a specific attack against. The researchers said that the protein fragment could be part of an infectious organism or some other type of health hazard, like a cancer tumor.

The liposome-based vaccine can be delivered either subcutaneously through injection or orally, the researchers said.