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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

MIT nanoparticle discovery aimed at new vaccines

By Michelle Lang
MIT researchers have discovered that new nanoparticles could lead to vaccines for HIV and malaria.

The discovery, announced today by MIT and earlier this week in the journal “Nature Materials,” could also lead to future development of vaccines for cancer and infectious diseases.

The new nanoparticles are made with fatty spheres that carry synthetic types of proteins that would have been produced by the virus and are designed to prompt an immune response. Darrell Irvine, MIT associate professor of materials science and engineering and biological engineering, said in a statement that the nanoparticles are much safer than using live virus vaccines.

Irvine and a research team at MIT and at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research are currently testing the nanoparticles for a malaria vaccine in mice. Tests for an HIV vaccine are being worked on with the Ragon Institute of MIT, Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital.

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