SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2016

Scientists identify biomarkers of vaccine immunity

The Emory Vaccine Center announced on Monday that its scientists developed a "vaccine gene chip" to speed the process of testing vaccines for diseases such as HIV, malaria and dengue.

The chip works by comparing the molecular signatures generated by different vaccines when they are introduced to the human immune system.

The study used two vaccines for Neisseria meningitides, which causes meningitis or sepsis. Researchers analyzed blood samples from 30 volunteers who had been injected with the vaccines, and compared them to previous study samples using yellow fever and flu vaccines.

Pathology and laboratory medicine professor at Emory Univeristy School of Medicine Bali Pulendran said researchers were looking to see if there were universal molecular signatures that indicate vaccine effectiveness that could predict any vaccine response.

"Our results suggest that gene expression predictors of antibody response are unlikely to be 'universal', but are dependent on the type of vaccine," Pulendran said.

Pulendran said the results represent a small step toward understanding molecular signatures of vaccines and possibly predicting immunity to vaccines.

"Clearly more comparative work is needed to define robust and predictors of immunity that may be common to a broader range of vaccines," Pulendran said.

Pulendran said the research has offered unexpected results about how the immune system operates, and the research team showed a link between immunity to vaccines and cell response.