Can E. coli be used to transport vaccines?
A team of researchers from the University of Buffalo have developed an E. coli based capsule, which according to them, can transport vaccines more efficiently than the currently available immunizations. While most people fear E. coli, the study’s co-lead author Blaine A. Pfeifer, PhD, associate professor of chemical and biological engineering in the University at Buffalo School of Engineering and Applied Sciences says that “there are many strains of the bacteria, most of which are perfectly normal in the body, that have great potential to fight disease.” The team used harmless E. coli as the core of the transport capsule. This capsule was created by wrapping beta amino ester – a synthetic polymer – around the bacteria, which is positively charged. When it combined with the negatively charged bacteria cell wall, a hybrid capsule was created. To test it, they inserted in it a protein-based vaccine to fight pneumococcal disease and found that the capsule triggered an immune response in mice and protected them against pneumococcal disease. Pfiefer is attempting to commercialize this relatively inexpensive biotechnology since it can be used to as a delivery device in treatments targeting cancer and viral diseases.
Read more in Science Daily.