Scientists have developed a new type of nano particle which they say can safely and effectively deliver vaccines for diseases such as malaria and HIV-AIDS.
Developed by a team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the new particles consist of concentric fatty spheres that can carry synthetic versions of proteins normally produced by viruses.
These synthetic particles, the researchers said, elicit a strong immune response, comparable to that produced by live virus vaccines, but should be much safer.
Contact with chemicals inside human cells triggers the vesicles to unload their cargo, which slowly leaks out over the course of a month, they said.
“We can use these to deliver any synthetic vaccine very effectively to immune cells,” study author James Moon was quoted as saying by LiveScience.
The team demonstrated that their strategy sparks more powerful immune responses in mice than do other types of lipid spheres, achieving results comparable to the delivery of live viruses.
Antibodies and other immune cells absorbed and recognised proteins from the capsules more efficiently, producing long-lasting activation of immune boosters.
“All the models we tested are showing very strong, positive signs that these are working very well,” said Mr. Moon.
Next, the researchers said they would test whether the technique can combat malaria and HIV-AIDS, both of which currently lack effective vaccines.
Because the major components of the drug carrier are already approved and there have been no adverse side effects reported, they are optimistic about future clinical trials in humans.
“The vaccine platform can potentially be applied to all different kinds of infectious diseases,” said Mr. Moon.
The new findings were published in the journal Nature Materials.