ARTICLE | Tools & Techniques

Potato protected vaccines

September 17, 2001 7:00 AM UTC

Oral vaccines have many benefits over parenteral approaches, but the premature proteolysis and degradation of orally administered antigens in the intestine impedes the production of effective therapeutics. Researchers at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute and the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research Inc. now have described a method to produce effective oral vaccines by "bioencapsulating" the vaccine antigen within potato cells.

As published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, scientists at Roswell (Buffalo, N.Y.) created a vector expressing the hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) that then was inserted into Agrobacterium tumefaciens, which then was used to transform potato cells. HBsAg-expressing cells were propagated to produce potato tubers. Mice fed transgenic potato containing 42 µg of HBsAg with cholera toxin adjuvant provided a primary antibody response of 175 mIU/ml, well in excess of, the 10 mIU/ml that is the protective level in humans. ...