Natural Killer cells as effectors of vaccine-induced immunity

PI – Professor Eleanor Riley
Funder- Medical Research Council

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The purpose of this research programme is to evaluate the predictive potential of two new potential correlates of protection (the identification of immune responses which, when present, are a good indicator that the person is protected), namely the ability of immune cells called T cells and NK cells to make two molecules (IL-2 and IFN-gamma) which we suspect may correlate better with protection. A large part of this work will be carried out at the MRC Laboratories in The Gambia, West Africa, where in 1984, MRC introduced a new vaccine for hepatitis B which has been highly effective at preventing hepatitis and liver cancer.  Our preliminary data indicate this vaccine induces both IL-2 producing T cells and IFN-gamma-producing NK cells and we now want to see if these responses are correlated with long term protection against hepatitis B infection. If so, then we will investigate how these responses can be most efficiently induced by vaccination.

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