World`s first heart disease vaccine comes closer to reality

Washington: A study has revealed the concept of development of the world's first T-cell peptide-based vaccine for heart disease the number one killer in the nation.

The goal of the vaccine was to reduce immune-based inflammation in the arteries, leading to decreased plaque buildup and it could target strokes, which are also a product of plaque buildup in arteries.

These experiments show proof of concept for the development of an autoantigen-specific vaccine for reducing the amount of atherosclerotic plaques in mice and if successful, the vaccine could aid in preventing heart disease and stop or reduce disease progression.

Harley Tse and Michael Shaw were the first to demonstrate that two T cell epitopes of the autoantigen apoB100 are deeply involved in the development of the disease.

According to Tse, apoB100 is an apolipoprotein of the LDL (low-density lipoprotein) particle which is the notorious 'bad cholesterol' that contributes to the formation of plaques in the vessel wall and that, although T cells of the immune system were known to participate in the development of heart disease, by what and how these T cells are directed to act have not been elucidated.

He further added that the lack of this knowledge has greatly hampered the development of immune peptide-based therapeutics to control the disease and with the discovery of the disease-causing T cell epitopes, they can now manipulate the activities of the T cells responding to these epitopes to control the disease.

This discovery is significant because it identifies the target T cells and makes it possible to manipulate this population of pathologic T cells away from their harmful activities.

This work is published in the April - June 2014 issue (volume 2) of Journal of Immunology and Clinical Research.