Researchers at the University of Iowa have found a way to speed up the effectiveness of vaccinations. U-of-I microbiology professor John Harty (shown in photo above) says normal vaccinations have some lag time before their immunity builds to an effective level. He says, “What we’ve determined is that we can use a particular cell that we isolate and grow in a petri dish and then manipulate to give it some of the signals in the dish that it might receive during an infection, including pieces of the virus or the bacterium or perhaps the tumor cell that we might be vaccinating against.” Harty says the process is called dendritic cell vaccination.
He says the research on mice has shown an increase in immunity in days rather than weeks. He says they aren’t saying that current vaccines don’t work, he says they’re saying that some time restraints make the vaccinations work to slow. He says an example is a fast growing cancer. He says it could also prove to be an important asset in vaccinating people quickly against a biological attack. Harty says they’ve just started to tap the potential of this process. He says the concepts may also be used to improve existing vaccines. He says right now they’re using the process on a very specific set of vaccines.
Harty says the process appears to be safe. He says the dendritic cells come from the donor and are put back in the donor, so they’re not foreign, and as far as they know, there aren’t any complications. Harty says the process could eventually make it easier on parents by making vaccinations for diseases like diphtheria and pertussis work more quickly. Harty says the process could be ready for use in humans sometime soon, but he says it’s not ready for widespread use. He says it would be an expensive approach right now because the technology isn’t worked out. He says it’s unlikely the technology could be immediately used in the third world because the cost is so high. Harty says it could eventually become an important tool as the technology develops.