Natural Killer cells as effectors of vaccine-induced immunity

PI – Professor Eleanor Riley
Funder- Medical Research Council


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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