Creating Nanodevices for Delivery of Vaccines

October 17, 2006

A team of Yale biomedical engineers and cell biologists received a $1-million award from the National Science Foundation to develop “smart nanoparticles” for the delivery of vaccines.

Led by Tarek Fahmy, assistant professor of biomedical engineering, the team will apply the two-year, Nanoscale Interdisciplinary Research Team (NIRT) funding to develop a new class of nanomaterials with properties that mimic biological vectors like bacteria and viruses.

“While previous research has shown that safe, biocompatible materials can be engineered into nanoparticles that contain drugs or vaccines, we will develop new materials for vectors that interact specifically and predictably with cells,” said Fahmy. “Our nanosystems will be designed to evade the normal barriers and stimulate antigen-presenting cells of the immune system.”

The researchers propose to construct the “smart nanoparticle” vaccine delivery system using a simple, modular approach that can be easily modified to meet the requirements of any particular vaccine. They expect this approach to be safer and more effective than current methods of co-administering an adjuvant or delivering live attenuated or killed bacteria or viruses to amplify the immune response.

“We will specifically target antigen-presenting cells such as the dendritic cells that are uniquely responsible for initiating immune responses,” said Ira Mellman, chair and Sterling Professor of Cell Biology. “Targeting antigens to dendritic cells is emerging as a powerful novel strategy for vaccination.”

The researchers will also track the fate and biological activity of the “smart nanoparticles” in cultured dendritic cells (DCs), to optimize the fate of the internalized nanoparticles and the release of the encapsulated antigen.

Their approach promises flexibility for integrating different DC surface proteins, enabling optimal DC population targeting and priming, delivery of a wide variety of antigens of clinical importance, and assembly of different combinations of recognition and antigen modules for a broad-spectrum potent vaccine response.

Source: Yale University

Explore further: New tools visualize where bacterial species live in the gut, control their activity

Related Stories

Novel drug delivery beats swine flu at gene level

March 28, 2017

Scientists from Tomsk Polytechnic University together with their colleagues from St. Petersburg and London have elaborated a new approach to deliver anti-viral RNAi to target cells against H1N1 influenza virus infection. ...

New approach makes cells resistant to HIV

April 10, 2017

Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have found a way to tether HIV-fighting antibodies to immune cells, creating a cell population resistant to the virus. Their experiments under lab conditions show that these ...

Recommended for you

Research comes through with flying colors

April 25, 2017

Like a chameleon changing colors to blend into the environment, Lawrence Livermore researchers have created a technique to change the color of assembled nanoparticles with an electrical stimulant.

Nano-notch sends self-assembling polymers into a spiral

April 25, 2017

A simple circular or hexagonal pit written into silicon can be used to generate self-assembling polymer spirals thanks to the addition of a tiny notch in the template, report scientists in the launch issue of Nano Futures.

Graphene holds up under high pressure

April 24, 2017

A single sheet of graphene, comprising an atom-thin lattice of carbon, may seem rather fragile. But engineers at MIT have found that the ultrathin material is exceptionally sturdy, remaining intact under applied pressures ...

Freezing lithium batteries may make them safer and bendable

April 24, 2017

Yuan Yang, assistant professor of materials science and engineering at Columbia Engineering, has developed a new method that could lead to lithium batteries that are safer, have longer battery life, and are bendable, providing ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.