SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2016

Swedish foundation provides funding for mucosal vaccines

The Sweden-based Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation will provide more than $2.47 million for the development of mucosal vaccines based on nanoparticle technology, the University of Gothenburg announced on Tuesday.

Researchers from the Mucosal Immunobiology and Vaccine Center at the University of Gothenburg, Chalmers University of Technology and Lund University will use the funds to collaborate to develop the next generation of effective mucosal vaccines based on cell-targeted nanoparticles and immunomodulation.

Mucosal vaccines, which include drinkable or nasal spray vaccines, have multiple advantages over injectable vaccines. Injectable vaccines require highly-trained healthcare personnel and increase the risk for blood-borne contamination and infection. Despite the practical advantages, few mucosal vaccines are available today because they require powerful adjuvants and effective formulations to protect the vaccine components from degradation in harsh mucosal environments.

The researchers are using their expertise in vaccine adjuvant and lipid nanoparticle research to develop the next generation of effective mucosal vaccines.

"We are now taking a unique and pioneering step towards a universal platform for mucosal vaccines by developing a new targeted lipid nanoparticle vaccine that combines knowledge from different disciplines," Nils Lycke, a researcher on the project, said.

The researchers will combine effective adjuvants with lipid nanoparticles to direct the complexes to the dendritic cells in the mucosal membranes. The team will combine the expertise in the key areas of vaccine development, nano-biotechnology and immunology.

"Thanks to a flexible particle design, and extensive experience with a patented adjuvant system we hope to be successful in our efforts," Lycke said. "If successful, the next generation of mucosal vaccines will have a major impact not only on vaccine prevention of infections, but also on global health. The idea is unique in several respects. No one has previously combined these components in a particle and no one has, in a structured manner, optimized the lipid particles to make (mucosal) inoculations effective."