Patent of the Week: Increased Safety and Improved Protection of Vaccines

Patent of the Week

Researchers, including Aaron Esser-Kahn, an associate professor at UChicago’s Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering, have filed a patent application for a novel additive that limits undesirable vaccine-related side effects.

Many vaccines include adjuvants – an ingredient added to boost immune system response – though current options are limited and many produce undesirable side effects, such as injection site swelling.

To improve vaccine safety without impacting protection, the researchers have developed small molecules that can be added to existing adjuvants. The additives are inhibitors of NF-kB, a protein complex involved in biologic processes associated with inflammation.

The method – which decreased inflammation and enhanced immune response – is generalizable across a broad range of adjuvants and antigens.

The researchers anticipate the studies will lead to “a novel approach to vaccine formulation design that may prove general across a wide range of adjuvants, enabling their greater use in the public realm.”

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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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