Patent of the Week: Enhancing Vaccine Efficiency

Patent of the Week

Researchers at the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago developed a new platform technology for improving the efficiency of vaccines.

Jeffrey Hubbell, Eugene Bell Professor in tissue engineering and deputy dean for development at UChicago is among the team that filed the patent for their polymer conjugate vaccines invention.

The invention is a bio-polymer with two sub-units: one for delivering the vaccine protein to immune cells, and the other for activating the same cells. This polymer functions as a type of adjuvant, an ingredient added to improve vaccine efficiency. While there are other adjuvant vaccines, the new technology improves on the shortcomings of current approaches, such as challenges with solubility.

Additionally, according to the researchers, the polymer platform theoretically could be used to develop a vaccine for any virus.

Proof of concept studies have demonstrated the vaccine platform’s ability to improve the efficiency of a malaria vaccine, a notoriously challenging target. Compared to the clinical standard, the system is safer and more efficacious – it also has potential applications in vaccinations against complex infections and cancer, Hubbell previously noted.

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// Patent of the Week is a weekly column highlighting research and inventions from University of Chicago faculty.

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