|- Study elucidates basic mechanism of novel needle-free vaccination|
SEOUL, Korea -- Scientists at the International Vaccine Institute (IVI) have discovered the mechanism by which a vaccine applied onto the skin can cause an immune response in the gut, as well as in the body. The Seoul-based IVI is an international organization devoted to new vaccines for developing countries.
Transcutaneous immunization (TCI), a recently developed needle-free vaccination method, involves applying a vaccine onto the skin using a patch. In previous animal and human studies, TCI was found to induce robust immune responses in blood and in mucosal secretions.
IVI post-doctoral fellow Chang Sun-young found in an animal study that dendritic cells – cells that “capture” vaccines and carry them to the immune system – were induced by TCI in the lymph nodes draining the gut and were involved in the initiation of intestinal antibody responses, which are essential to stopping bacteria and virus infections. “Such findings provide an explanation why intestinal immune responses are induced after skin immunization, the reason for which had remained elusive until now,” said Dr Chang.
“These findings suggest that an efficient ‘cross-talk’ exists between the skin and gut immune systems and appears to be mediated by specialized dendritic cells in lymph nodes draining the intestines,” said Dr. Kweon Mi-na, Chief of the Mucosal Immunology section of the IVI Laboratory Sciences Division who led the study. The study has been published as a “Cutting Edge” article in the latest issue of the Journal of Immunology.
“These findings challenge the traditional notion that ingesting vaccines is the only means for inducing immunity in the gut. The results reported by Dr Kweon’s team not only supports the notion that administering a vaccine in a skin patch can do the job but also provides a clue as to why this approach works,” Dr. Cecil Czerkinsky, IVI’s Deputy Director-General, said.About IVI
The International Vaccine Institute (IVI) is the world’s only international organization devoted exclusively to developing and introducing new and improved vaccines to protect the world’s poorest people, especially children in developing countries. Established as an initiative of the United Nations Development Program in 1997, the IVI operates under a treaty signed by 40 countries and the World Health Organization. The Institute conducts research in more than 20 countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America on vaccines against diarrheal infections, bacterial meningitis and pneumonia, as well as Japanese encephalitis and dengue fever, and develops new and improved vaccines at its headquarters in Seoul. For more information, please visit www.ivi.int