National Jewish Health Receives Patent for Liposome-Based Vaccine

National Jewish Health has received a US patent for a new kind of vaccine, which uses a small lipid bubble to deliver an antigen and DNA adjuvant. Chairman of Pediatrics Erwin Gelfand, MD, and former National Jewish Health Professor of Medicine Steve Dow, PhD, developed the new liposome-based adjuvant.

Live vaccines, containing weakened forms of an infectious organism, generally work fine by themselves. But vaccines containing dead organisms or pieces of the infectious organisms or their toxins generally need adjuvants to boost their effectiveness. Aluminum salts, known as alum, are the most common adjuvant used in the United States for routine preventive vaccines.

The recently patented invention by Drs. Gelfand and Dow describes a vaccine contained within a liposome, a tiny vesicle made of a double layer of lipids. Contained within the liposome is a DNA sequence that serves as an adjuvant. Depending on the sequence, either the DNA molecule itself or the protein for which it codes can be used to stimulate the immune system. This DNA molecule is fused to an immunogen, the protein fragment against which the immune mounts a specific attack. The protein fragment could be part of an infectious organism or possibly some other health  hazard such as a cancer tumor. The liposome-based vaccine could be delivered either subcutaneously through injection or orally. 

The patent, #7741300 is currently licensed to a US biotechnology company for commercial development.

National Jewish Health is known worldwide for treatment of patients with respiratory, cardiac, immune and related disorders, and for groundbreaking medical research. Founded in 1899 as a nonprofit hospital, National Jewish remains the only facility in the world dedicated exclusively to these disorders. Since 1998, U.S. News & World Report has ranked National Jewish the #1 respiratory hospital in the nation.

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