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Better vaccines are in our blood

Better vaccines are in our blood
Red blood cells do more than shuttle oxygen from our lungs to our organs: they also help the body fight off infections by capturing pathogens on their surfaces, neutralizing them, and presenting them to immune cells in the spleen and liver. Now, a team of researchers from Harvard's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) has harnessed this innate ability to build a platform technology that uses red blood cells to deliver antigens to antigen-presenting cells (APCs) in the spleen, generating an immune response. This approach successfully slowed the growth of cancerous tumors in mice, and could also be used as a biocompatible adjuvant for a variety of vaccines. The technology, called Erythrocyte-Driven Immune Targeting (EDIT), is reported this week in PNAS.