Subjects: R and D
Scripps Research Institute scientists may have overcome a significant drawback of vaccinations as a treatment strategy—the time lag from injection until immunity has developed.
They’ve named their new vaccination strategy “covalent immunization” and tested it on mice afflicted with either colon cancer or melanoma.
The technique involves injecting subjects with chemicals designed to stimulate an immune reaction, and following that with injections of other compounds, so-called “adapter molecules,” which recognize cancer cells.
The latter compounds then create covalent bonds with the antibodies generated by the first injection.
The newly formed molecules then lay low, bothering normal physiology not a bit while somehow not being metabolized or otherwise cleared from the body, until (in this case) a cancer cell pops up at which point they spring into action and the next thing you know you have a dead cancer cell.
Carlos Barbas and colleagues published their work in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.
“The antibodies in our vaccine are designed to circulate inertly until they receive instructions from tailor-made small molecules to become active against a specific target,” Barbas told BurrillReport.
“Antibodies (would be) primed and ready to go. (The method) would apply whether the target is a cancer cell, flu virus, or a toxin like anthrax that soldiers or even civilian populations might have to face during a bioterrorism attack.”
Barbas wants to experiment with covalent immunization in cancers, HIV, and infectious diseases for which vaccines are not currently available.
“We believe that chemistry-based vaccine approaches have been underexplored and may provide opportunities to make inroads into intractable areas of vaccinology,” Barbas concluded.