Cancer Vaccines: How scientists are turning cancer against itself

by Cathy Gutierrez figures by Lillian Horin “The history of cancer vaccines is a history of failure.” This is the leading sentence of a 2005 article that summarized the history of cancer vaccines. Cancer vaccines have long been the Holy Grail of cancer research. For centuries, scientists have been devising ways to train the body to destroy tumors. Despite the success of early preventive cancer … Continue reading Cancer Vaccines: How scientists are turning cancer against itself

A Tale of Two Vaccines: Zika Vaccines Show Promise in Mice

In a little over a year since it was first reported in Brazil, Zika virus has gone from a little-known member of the flavivirus genus to one of the most reported on viruses in the world. Open any newspaper and you’ll find an update on the ongoing epidemic. For the most part the news is dire – counties reporting their first Zika cases or the … Continue reading A Tale of Two Vaccines: Zika Vaccines Show Promise in Mice

Visualizing the generation of antibodies

Antibodies are Y-shaped proteins that are made by the immune system to identify and neutralize pathogens. The generation of good antibodies during an immune response is essential for the body to protect itself against pathogens. Moreover, the vast majority of all vaccines are based on the formation of antibodies. During an immune response the cells that produce antibodies (B cells) undergo selection, during which the … Continue reading Visualizing the generation of antibodies

Skin Deep: Illuminating our body’s immune defenses

Presented by Vinidhra Mani The skin is our first barrier to entry of pathogens. The tightly regulated immune system in our skin provides us with a robust arsenal to combat potential invaders, yet also has checkpoints to ensure that the battlefields don’t harm our own bodies in return. How does immunity in the skin protect us? How can we bolster our barrier defenses through vaccination … Continue reading Skin Deep: Illuminating our body’s immune defenses

To vaccinate or not to vaccinate? Searching for a verdict in the vaccination debate

by Vivian Chou figures by Daniel Utter If you have been following the 2016 US presidential elections, you are, in all likelihood, aware of the controversy surrounding mandatory childhood vaccination. Vaccines have risen to the limelight in recent years, but their history is much longer than that. Ever since the first vaccination was scientifically documented in 1798 [1], they have reshaped the landscape of human … Continue reading To vaccinate or not to vaccinate? Searching for a verdict in the vaccination debate

RNA vaccines: a novel technology to prevent and treat disease

by Alexis Hubaud figures by Anna Maurer Vaccination is key to preventing disease and has been a major advance in public health to eradicate epidemics like smallpox or polio. Vaccines work by mimicking an infectious agent, and by doing so, train our bodies to respond more rapidly and effectively against them. A new class of vaccines, “RNA vaccines”, has recently been developed. RNA vaccines rely … Continue reading RNA vaccines: a novel technology to prevent and treat disease

Can computer simulations help design new vaccines?

Vaccines teach your immune system to recognize and destroy certain pathogens. Unfortunately, it can be tricky to get your immune system to recognize and mount attacks against some pathogens, like respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Researchers recently used computational modeling to design a tiny protein that kind of looks like part of an RSV protein. When they injected it into monkeys, many of the monkeys’ immune … Continue reading Can computer simulations help design new vaccines?