Vaccine Breakthrough: Enhanced Mucosal Delivery to Improve Immune Protection

Vaccine Breakthrough: Enhanced Mucosal Delivery to Improve Immune Protection

Brittany Hartwell, Jason Y.H. Chang, Darrell J. Irvine

Koch Institute at MIT

The Irvine Lab is developing an intranasal vaccine that can bypass multiple barriers in the nasal cavity (seen here in cross-section) to activate a ‘frontline’ defense of immune cells and antibodies in the mucosa that protect against mucosally-transmitted pathogens. 

Evading clearance and degradation by mucus, the vaccine (yellow) is taken up by epithelial cells (indigo) lining the nose. It uses a naturally-occurring protein called albumin as a chaperone to hitchhike across mucosal cell layers (magenta) into underlying immune tissues. Further testing shows that the vaccine elicits protective immune responses against intruders such as HIV and SARS-CoV-2.

This work was published in Science Translational Medicine in July 2022.

cross-section of a nasal passageway lined with brightly colored vaccine particles

Video

Brittany Hartwell shares the story behind her award-winning image.

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