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Study finds protein that increases efficacy of vaccines

Typically, vaccines can either increase the amount of antibody production or they can stimulate cells, called cytotoxic T cells, to directly kill the offending agent.

Apr 12, 2017 14:05 IST
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A group of researchers at Boston University Medical Center discovered a protein that could make vaccinations more effective.

The study was published in April 2017 in the Scientific Reports.

The researchers purified a protein found on the exterior of bacteria (neisseria meningidis) and used it as an accessory to provide a better vaccination response.

Typically, vaccines can either increase the amount of antibody production or they can stimulate cells, called cytotoxic T cells, to directly kill the offending agent.

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Key highlights of the study

In the study, the scientists used two experimental models.

The first model was given a vaccination with antigen and mixed PorB.

The second model was given the antigen alone.

The model that received the PorB had an increase in the response to the vaccine antigen, evidenced by an increased number of activated cells in the lymph nodes and a gain in the production of cytotoxic T cells, as compared to the vaccination with the antigen alone.

Significance of the study

The study has wide implications. It could be used to help the body identify and fight off bacterial infections. In addition, the research could also potentially help the body use its own machinery to fight off other diseases like cancer, HIV, and influenza before they have a chance to establish within the body.

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