In the study, scientists created a new, recombinant protein by fusing together a special type of protein called a 'heat shock protein,' isolated from the tuberculosis bacterium, and a protein called ovalbumin, long used by immunologists to study immune function. When scientists injected the recombinant protein into mice, the animals mounted an immune response against ovalbumin and developed immunity against cancer cells that make ovalbumin. These ovalbumin-producing cancer cells normally kill unimmunized mice.
"These results have led us to use the same heat shock fusion technology to develop vaccine candidates against AIDS and other infectious diseases," says Dr. Young, who now leads a consortium of scientists from Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to develop a vaccine against AIDS. Dr. Young and his colleagues are creating a recombinant monkey vaccine consisting of the heat shock protein fused to a protein from the Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV). Researchers plan to test the efficacy of this vaccine in macaques.
When germs enter the body, the immune system responds in two ways. One
arm of the immune system, led by immune cells called B cells, works mainly by
secreting antibodies into the body's fluids. These antibodies seek and destr
Contact: Seema Kumar or Eve Nichols
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research