A newly found protein may aid vaccinations; it could make them more effective and could expand their use for other diseases. The protein, PorB, was detected in the membrane of a neisseria meningidis bacterium. The scientists demonstrated that it improved vaccines by stimulating the cells of the immune system to kill foreign invaders as well as stimulating the production of antibodies. The work was published in Scientific Reports.
"Our study deepens the general understanding of how vaccine adjuvants modulate immune responses," commented Dr. Lee Wetzler, a Professor of Medicine and Microbiology at Boston University Medical School. "The antigen formulation with PorB triggers a sequence of cellular events at the periphery and in lymphoid tissue that are critical for the establishment of protection to a broad array of infectious diseases, and maybe for other diseases like cancer."
The researchers used two models, one that only got a vaccine with an antigen, one that received that plus PorB. That showed the addition of PorB was able to stimulate an increase in the number of activated cells in the lymph nodes and an increase in cytotoxic T cell production.
"This study has wide implications as it could not only be used to help the body identify and fight off bacterial infections, but it 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," Wetzler concluded.