UK scientists have discovered a way to boost the effectiveness of vaccines for chronic viral infections and cancers, using mice.
When a vaccine is given, T cells are produced as a mechanism of response, however the researchers discovered that the effectiveness of most vaccines drops as these T cells are suppressed by a protein called PD-L1, which is found on the surface of natural killer cells in the liver.
To counteract this, the team from the University College London (UCL) and the University of Oxford, both UK, managed to enhance the T cells after vaccination to ensure better protection.
Following the vaccination of mice suffering from hepatitis B, the team used an anti-PD-L-1 antibody, and then noticed a stronger T cell response.
"Our findings delineate an immunotherapeutic combination that can boost the response to therapeutic vaccination in chronic hepatitis B and highlight the broader importance of PD-L1–dependent regulation of T cells by cytokine-activated natural killer cells," said Dr Marianna Diniz, of UCL.