An article published in Science Daily entitled “Vaccine Adjuvant Uses Host DNA to Boost Pathogen Recognition” written by researchers at National Jewish Health (A. S. McKee, M.A. Burchill, M. W. Munks, L. Jin, J. W. Kappler, R. S. Friedman, J. Jacobelli, P:. Marrack) reveals how DNA assists a vaccine adjuvant. Aluminum salts or alum have been used as a vaccine adjuvant for years, but how they actually work has been never been known until recently. The researchers at National Jewish Health discovered that antigen presenting cells exhibit small remains of the DNA-alum-vaccine complex on their surfaces for the T-cells to identify in the immune process. The DNA creates a sticky surface on the antigen presenting cells which increases the time the T cells are engaged with the pathogen. This increases the effectiveness of the body’s immune response. Researchers are still trying to identify what causes the DNA to make the cell sticker.
I think this ground breaking research could lead to the improvement of current vaccines and the creation of new ones.
Article Link: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130405184630.htm