Auburn researchers develop vaccine platform that could combat HIV, cancer

27 Nov

Auburn University doctoral student Erfan Chowdhury (left) and Bernhard Kaltenboeck, a professor of pathobiology in Auburn’s College of Veterinary Medicine, have developed a new vaccine platform that could treat intracellular diseases such as cancer and HIV.

Auburn graduate students Erfan Chowdhury and Yihang Li have worked alongside Dr. Bernhard Kaltenboeck, professor of pathobiology in Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, to develop a vaccine platform to treat intracellular diseases for which antibodies are ineffective.

When someone receives a vaccine, it usually means they are trying to build up antibodies toward a disease they do not want to get. For centuries, the approach has worked to prevent the spread of, or even eliminate, many diseases. However, antibodies are insufficient in preventing many other diseases.

Typically, large doses of vaccine are given because that means more antibodies are produced. Instead, the Auburn researchers drastically lowered the dose – less than one hundredth of one percent as compared to traditional vaccines. This created a response by the body’s immune cells, which is exactly what is needed for intracellular diseases. Such a response can serve as a preventive measure or as a way to treat chronic infections.

The new vaccine platform could potentially be used to fight diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, HIV, dengue fever and cancer.

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