Ian Cockburn from the Australian National University in Australia will test two approaches to improve vaccines by increasing competition for the vaccine antigen by immune cells and prolonging the survival of those immune cells. Antibody-producing B cells develop in so-called germinal centers within lymph nodes in response to infections or vaccinations. However, many diseases including malaria lack effective vaccines. They will combine a major vaccine candidate for malaria, Plasmodium falciparum circumsporozoite protein (CSP), with both a monoclonal anti-CSP antibody (so-called passive vaccination), and an immune cell-stimulating molecule hIL-21, both individually and in combination. These will be tested in mice for promoting antibody production and a protective immune response by measuring malaria parasite levels in the liver.
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