Novel formulations for antigen delivery using biodegradable polymers: new approaches for the use of new and established adjuvants
The use of immunological adjuvants has been established since 1924 and ever since many candidates have been extensively researched in vaccine development. The controlled release of vaccine is another area of biotechnology research, which is advancing rapidly with great potential and success. Encapsulation of peptide and protein drugs within biodegradable microspheres has been amongst the most successful of approaches within the past decade. The present studies have focused on combining the advantages of microsphere delivery systems composed of biodegradable polylactide (PLLA) and polylactide-co-glycolide (PLGA) polymers with that of safe and effective adjuvants. The research efforts were directed to the development of single-dose delivery vehicles which, can be manufactured easily, safely, under mild and favourable conditions to the encapsulated antigens. In pursuing this objective non ionic block copolymers (NIBCs) (Pluronics@ LI01 and L121) were incorporated within poly-dl-lactide (PDLA) micorospheres prepared with emulsification-diffusion method. LI0I and L121 served both as adjuvants and stabilising agents within these vaccine delivery vehicles. These formulations encapsulating the model antigens lysozyme, ovalbumin (OVA) and diphtheria toxoid (DT) resulted in high entrapment efficiency (99%), yield (96.7%) and elicited high and sustained immune response (IgG titres up to 9427) after one single administration over nine months. The structural integrity of the antigens was preserved within these formulations. In evaluating new approaches for the use of well-established adjuvants such as alum, these particles were incorporated within PLLA and PLGA microspheres at much lesser quantities (5-10 times lower) than those contained within conventional alum-adsorbed vaccines. These studies focused on the incorporation of the clinically relevant tetanus toxoid (TT) antigen within biodegradable microspheres. The encapsulation of both alum particles and TT antigen within these micropheres resulted in preparations with high encapsulation efficiency (95%) and yield (91.2%). The immune response to these particles was also investigated to evaluate the secretion of serum IgG, IgG1, IgG2a and IgG2b after a single administration of these vaccines. The Splenic cells proliferation was also investigated as an indication for the induction of cell mediated immunity. These particles resulted in high and sustained immune response over a period of 14 months. The stability of TT within particles was also investigated under dry storage over a period of several months. NIBC microspheres were also investigated as potential DNA vaccine delivery systems using hepatitis B plasmid. These particles resulted in micro spheres of 3-5 μm diameter and were shown to preserve the integrity of the encapsulated (27.7% entrapment efficiency) hepatitis B plasmid.