Ames, Iowa- A team of Iowa State University (ISU) researchers is evaluating a new method to improve vaccines, limit dose size and frequency of administration.
AMES, IOWA— A team of Iowa State University (ISU) researchers is evaluating a new method to improve vaccines, limit dose size and frequency of administration.
Dr. Michael Wannemuehler and his team are experimenting with bacteria proteins and their potential role in improving vaccines.
Traditionally, injectable vaccines are prepared from killed bacteria. Rather than focus on the entire bacteria to get an immune response, the research looks more closely at the use of bacteria proteins combined with novel polymers used to deliver vaccines. The combination, Wannemuehler says, will help vaccine makers decrease the dose size and reduce side effects.
"As we move away from using whole bacteria, we're going to more molecular approaches with purified proteins or portions of proteins. Instead of injecting 100 units to get protection, we can inject one unit, for example."
Current research is focused on creating a new vaccine against plague, but the application could be applied to other disease-causing bacteria.
"If this technology works here, it's completely transferable to any protein, with minor changes," Wannemuehler says.
Supported by a Grow Iowa Values Fund grant, the research is being conducted in collaboration with the BioProtection Systems Corp. of Ames. The aim is to supply lower-cost vaccines to government agencies for use where the plague is still a threat.