Red blood cells could generate immune response via vaccines

Sunday, July 19, 2020 - 12:30 in Health & Medicine

Red blood cells do more than shuttle oxygen from our lungs to our organs: they also help the body fight off infections by capturing pathogens on their surfaces, neutralizing them, and presenting them to immune cells in the spleen and liver.  A team of researchers from Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) has harnessed this innate ability to build a platform technology that uses red blood cells to deliver antigens to antigen-presenting cells (APCs) in the spleen, generating an immune response.  This approach successfully slowed the growth of cancerous tumors in mice, and could also be used as a biocompatible adjuvant for a variety of vaccines. The technology, called Erythrocyte-Driven Immune Targeting (EDIT), is reported this week in PNAS. “The spleen is one of the best organs in the body to target when generating an immune response, because it is one...

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