Journal: Advanced Materials
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Gel promises better vaccines for chronic infections
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A peptide-based hydrogel is effective in eliciting a strong immune response when used as part of a vaccine.
A team in China, led by Changyang Gong of Sichuan University, developed a water-based ‘hydrogel’, incorporating a peptide called Nap-GFFY, which self-assembles into nanofibres. Injecting a vaccine that includes a foreign substance, called an antigen, with the peptide-containing hydrogel into mice elicits a stronger immune response than a vaccine containing the antigen alone.
Adjuvants, like aluminium salts, improve the immune response to vaccines. But those currently licensed for use only stimulate part of the immune system, making them ineffective at preventing some chronic infections and cancers. The new hydrogel acts as an adjuvant that can more fully stimulate an immune response. Antigens mixed with the gel are held within its nanofibres, protecting them from digestive enzymes, and prolonging the time they have to stimulate immune cells into action. The gel can be easily prepared on a mass scale and shows promise in the treatment of infections and cancers.
- Advanced Materials 29, 1601776 (2017). doi: 10.1002/adma.201601776