Pathogen-mimicking vaccine delivery system designed with a bioactive polymer (inulin acetate) for robust humoral and cellular immune responses

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New and improved vaccines are needed against challenging diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, Ebola, influenza, AIDS, and cancer. The majority of existing vaccine adjuvants lack the ability to significantly stimulate the cellular immune response, which is required to prevent the aforementioned diseases. This study designed a novel particulate based pathogen-mimicking vaccine delivery system (PMVDS) to target antigen-presenting-cells (APCs) such as dendritic cells. The uniqueness of PMVDS is that the polymer used to prepare the delivery system, Inulin Acetate (InAc), activates the innate immune system. InAc was synthesized from the plant polysaccharide, inulin. PMVDS provided improved and persistent antigen delivery to APCs as an efficient vaccine delivery system, and simultaneously, activated Toll-Like Receptor-4 (TLR-4) on APCs to release chemokine's/cytokines as an immune-adjuvant. Through this dual mechanism, PMVDS robustly stimulated both the humoral (>32 times of IgG1 levels vs alum) and the cell-mediated immune responses against the encapsulated antigen (ovalbumin) in mice. More importantly, PMVDS stimulated both cytotoxic T cells and natural killer cells of cell-mediated immunity to provide tumor (B16-ova-Melanoma) protection in around 40% of vaccinated mice and significantly delayed tumor progression in rest of the mice. PMVDS is a unique bio-active vaccine delivery technology with broader applications for vaccines against cancer and several intracellular pathogens, where both humoral and cellular immune responses are desired.Graphical abstractThe PMVDS is a pathogen-mimicking, immune-active (TLR-4 agonist) vaccine delivery system that provides strong antibody and cell-mediated immune responses against encapsulated antigens for efficient cancer immunotherapy.

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