While we think that we understand how vaccines work, it is clear that we don't really know how the magnitude and type of immune response a vaccine induces is controlled. This is important, as a number of vaccines are only feasible if we can modulate the size and type of immune response generated. In vaccination, this function is performed by 'adjuvants' and we don't really understand how they work either. Experiments in culture suggest an important role for cells, known as dendritic cells, in controlling vaccine-induced responses. However, cells of the immune system do not work in isolation and it has been difficult to analyse the interactions of dendritic cells and other immune cells in real physiological environments. We have therefore developed a number of state of the art techniques that allow us to characterise the function of dendritic cells, their interactions with other immune cells and the effects of these processes on vaccine-induced responses, in a physiological environment in real time. Only by analysing these interactions in a physiological environment in real time, can we understand how vaccines and adjuvants control the magnitude and type of immune response. This fundamental information will help produce agents to enhance the immune response to vaccines against infections or cancers, as well as to turn off inappropriate immune responses associated with diseases such as allergy, asthma and autoimmunity.
|Effective start/end date||1/01/07 → 30/04/10|
- BBSRC (Biotech & Biological Sciences Research Council): £370,236.54