Nanoparticle could aid in long-lasting immunities

Scientists at the Emory Vaccine Center have designed tiny nanoparticles that may hold the secrets of long-lasting immunity.

For years, vaccine scientists have tried to stimulate an immunity that lasts for a lifetime. Live viral vaccines can provide immune protection for decades, but scientists have had little luck in finding a way to induce vaccine protection for life, according to PhysOrg.com.

The Emory nanoparticles resemble viruses in their shape and immunological composition and are designed to mimic the immune-stimulating effects of the yellow fever vaccine, one of the most successful vaccines ever developed.

The particles are made of biodegradable polymers, PhysOrg.com reports. They have components that activate two different parts of the innate immune system and can be used interchangeably with material from many different viruses and bacteria.

“These results address a long?standing puzzle in vaccinology: how do successful vaccines induce long-lasting immunity?” senior author Bali Pulendran, a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at Emory University School of Medicine and a researcher at Yerkes National Primate Research Center, said, according to PhysOrg.com. “These particles could provide an instant way to stretch scarce supplies when access to viral material is limited, such as pandemic flu or during an emerging infection. In addition, there are many diseases, such as HIV, malaria, tuberculosis and dengue, that still lack effective vaccines, where we anticipate that this type of immunity enhancer could play a role.”