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Spider silk proteins help the vaccine activate immune cells
Update time:2018-07-05 23:08:12   【 Font: Large  Medium Small

Recently, Swiss and German researchers have devised a new program for the manufacture of vaccines. The use of spider silk proteins to encapsulate antigens can safely transport antigens to T cells in lymphoid tissues, greatly enhancing the effectiveness of vaccines in stimulating immune responses. Researchers said the technology helps design a stable, easy-to-use, storage-resistant vaccine.

For cancer and some important infectious diseases, small pieces of protein, antigenic peptides, need to be delivered to T cells so that they can learn to recognize related pathogens and produce immunity. If injected directly, antigenic peptides will decompose before reaching the "destination". How to safely and efficiently transport antigenic peptides is a difficult point in the development of vaccines.

The researchers published the paper Engineered hybrid spider silk particles as delivery system for peptide vaccines in the International Journal of Biomaterials. They combined antigenic peptides with a spider silk protein to create nano-sized particles that successfully delivered antigen peptides and activated T cells without the need for a vaccine adjuvant, and showed no evidence of immunotoxicity.

The vaccine particles are very stable, easy to manufacture and can be adjusted as needed. In addition, the vaccine particles have good heat resistance and can be stored in an environment exceeding 100 degrees Celsius for several hours.

The researchers said that the ability to create vaccines that do not require adjuvants and cold chain transport based on this technology will be of great significance in improving the immunization rate in developing countries. The technology is theoretically applicable to all small molecule antigenic peptides, but many conventional vaccines use relatively large antigen molecules. Whether this new technology can be used still requires further research and verification.

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