Immunosignature diagnosis may take guesswork out of vaccine efficacy

Scientists from the Center for Innovations in Medicine in the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University recently developed a new technology, known as immunosignature diagnosis, which makes it easier to predict vaccine efficacy.

The scientists' findings were published in the Oct. 28 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and show the results of immunosignature diagnosis in a study with influenza-infected mice. The study was led by Professor Stephen Albert Johnston and Joseph Barten Legutki.

"We developed the immunosignature technology primarily for early detection of disease, but realized it may have other applications," Johnston, the director of the Center for Innovations and Medicine at the Biodesign Institute, said. "In this work we demonstrate that it may also be useful for screening candidate vaccines."

Researchers found that live and inactive forms of a virus generate different immunosognatures which evoke different strengths of autoimmune responses. The researchers also noticed the immunosignatures were closely tied to commercial vaccines, allowing the diagnosis to predict the best vaccine candidate for a given influenza strain.

"These results are indicative of the value and breadth of information that can be performed by an immunosignature, and may significantly reduce the costs and timeframes currently committed to vaccine testing," Johnston said. "By using just a single, simple platform, we are able to identify effective vaccines. We hope this will be an important technology that could be well-suited to try to stay one step ahead of these harmful bugs."