Protein booster may improve vaccines

A new approach, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), has found a new way to manipulate how cells function. This novel method could significantly improve the effectiveness of vaccines, making them more cost-effective and efficient than current ones.

The study builds on an existing laboratory technique, transfection, which is commonly used to study how cells work.

Dr Jaquelin Dudley, a professor of molecular biosciences at the University of Texas at Austin, developed a new method for boosting the amounts of certain proteins a host cell produces when genes are delivered by transfection.

Manipulating cells to produce novel proteins is a key feature of DNA vaccines, and the new method causes around five to 20 times more proteins than the current method. According to the researchers, this could lead to much better DNA vaccines, which are innovative new vaccines that use DNA specified by a virus to prompt the production of proteins that lead to immunity.

"What we've described is that introducing these DNAs leads to a different detection system in the cell that, instead of shutting down protein expression, increases expression," said Dr Dudley.

Posted by Edward Bartel

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