Professor Roy Reports an Injectable Polymer-based Immune Priming Center to Improve Vaccine Efficacy

Vaccines against various cancers, emerging infectious diseases and drug-resistance infections need new and transformative strategies to increase protective immunity many folds over currently available vaccine concepts. There are two potential barriers associated with developing vaccines for these chronic diseases, low availability of immune cells at injection site and inability to drive the immune response in a desirable direction. Professor Krish Roy’s lab (with graduate student Ankur Singh as the lead author) recently reported in the journal Biomaterials [30, 5187-5200 (2009)] an injectable polymer-based hydrogel that forms a gel-like “depot” at the site of administration and acts as an artificial immune priming center. This hydrogel attracts large number of immune cells and efficiently delivers antigens and gene silencing RNA molecules to them using biodegradable microparticle carriers. The work was the first to demonstrate a multi-component, readily injectable formulation that acts as a synthetic immune center to increase vaccine efficacy.