In the quest to find new medicines for life-threatening diseases such as cancer, immune system needs more attention. Immune system has the ability to prevent, cure and cause diseases and thus, it has always been a topic of interest among researchers worldwide. Since our immune system is designed to produce antibodies sufficient enough to fight off any kind of diseases and illnesses, vaccines can make the process more effective.
But conventional vaccines often give us only a glimpse of amazing things that immune system can do. However, when these get out of balance or exhausted, they can even destroy healthy cells causing autoimmune diseases and chronic infections respectively.
Apparently, the department of immunology has made a lot of progress since the first launch of vaccines, and today, we can see a great shift in the next generation of vaccines. Today, there are over 500 vaccines in clinical development covering 49 infectious disease, 28 types of cancers, 17 other allergies and 10 autoimmune systems. Four emerging next-generation vaccine technologies are being potential to unlock the power of the immune system: DNA; immune response boosting adjuvants; computational antigen discovery and nanoparticles.
When it comes to cancer, DNA vaccines use specific genetic instructions to enable the production of particular proteins associated with the tumour cells. When a patient takes this vaccination, target cells start producing proteins in large quantities. It is worth mentioning that vaccine induced proteins are considered to be dangerous signals by a person’s immune system. This makes these proteins more amplified and effective to attack the tumour. There have been many studies, researches and trials to validate the effectiveness of DNA vaccines. Most of these trials have shown positive results.
The Power Of Antibodies
For most of the diseases, effective antibodies can be easily recognized in a patient’s blood. However, the major problem is that concentration levels of the antibodies are too low to prevent such diseases. In order to help you immune system produce more antibodies, a trigger (antigen) is required. Unfortunately, the primary challenge is that antigen molecules known to healthcare professionals are too small to be recognized by a person’s immune system. Thus, your body needs larger carriers to carry these antigens to your immune cells.
There’s no doubt that dendritic cells regulate your immune system’s responses through specific proteins. These proteins are called toll-like receptors or TLR. When these proteins are stimulated, it can boost your immune system. Candidates for Novel cancer vaccine can use this boost’ and other strategies to strengthen the immune response to cancer. However, these molecules can have some significant side effects, especially if their delivery has not been targeted to dendritic cells.
Nanoparticle vaccine can bring together numerous benefits of all the technologies that have been discussed so for. In fact, their size is quite similar to naturally occurring pathogens like viruses, which can facilitate preferential absorption through dendritic cells. Novel antigens can be easily displayed on the outside shell and immune boosting layer encapsulated inside. Both antigen and booster reach your immune cells simultaneously and induce a powerful response by the antibodies. Due to this, your immune system stops overreacting to allergens.
In pre clinical and clinical experiments, most of the nanoparticle vaccines have shown positive results regarding pneumococcal bacteria, influenza viruses, nicotine, cancer related antigens, house dust mites and other antigens causing multiple sclerosis.
Gerard is a passionate blogger about science and medical topics. He works alongside of healthcare companies like Admedus.