Scientists from Boston University School of Medicine, US have discovered a protein called PorB that could help make vaccinations more effective and provide protection from diseases such as cancer.
In this study, researchers had purified this protein, found on the exterior of bacteria (neisseria meningidis). It helps to increase amount of antibody production and can stimulate cells to kill offending agent and used it as an accessory to provide a better vaccination response.
Proteins are unusually any of a class of nitrogenous organic compounds which have large molecules composed of one or more long chains of amino acids. They are an essential part of all living organisms, especially as structural components of body tissues such as muscle, hair, etc., and as enzymes and antibodies.
Significance of discovery
- Typically, vaccines can either increase the amount of antibody production or they can stimulate cells (called cytotoxic T cells) to directly kill the offending agent. But the unique protein PorB can do both.
- In this study, researchers had used two experimental models. The first model was given a vaccination with antigen and mixed PorB, while the second model was given the antigen alone.
- The model that received the PorB had an increase in the response to the vaccine antigen as compared to the vaccination with the antigen alone.
- Potential applications: The discovery may lead to greater understanding of how vaccine enhancers work. It can also be used to help body identify and fight off bacterial infections and also potentially to use its own machinery to fight off other diseases like cancer, HIV, and influenza before they establish.