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Reverse vaccine trains immune system not to attack beneficial drugs

Date: 1.10.2021 

The immune system is a powerful weapon protecting us from dangerous infection, but sometimes it can get a little overzealous and attack things that are trying to help us. A new preclinical treatment could one day help, using a kind of “reverse vaccine” to train the immune system to ignore specific drugs or molecules.

Kredit: Bioconjugator / Wikimedia Commons.So if vaccination works by strengthening the immune system’s response against a particular target, could the process be “reversed” to build tolerance for things that are beneficial? For the new study, researchers at the University at Buffalo investigated doing just that.

The team was focusing on two specific diseases, the treatments for which are often thwarted by the immune system. Hemophilia A is a condition where blood clots don’t form properly, and treatment involves clotting agents called Factor VIII – which the immune system can render inactive. Pompe disease, meanwhile, is a rare genetic disorder that weakens muscles due to insufficient amounts of an enzyme called GAA. Enzyme replacement therapy can help – unless the immune system attacks those enzymes, which it does in almost all cases.

Previous studies have shown that a fatty acid called Lyso-PS can help. When administered alongside therapeutic proteins, the fatty acid seems to help the immune system tolerate the drug. In the new study, the Buffalo team developed a Lyso-PS nanoparticle that was just the right size and had the right characteristics to be easily taken up by cells.




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