CCMAR's innovative project on vaccination wins Robalo Cordeiro SPP/AstraZeneca/Novartis 2020 award
Our researcher Ana Grenha from the Marine Molecular Bioengineering group won the Robalo Cordeiro SPP/AstraZeneca/Novartis 2020 Award for her new project " Immunisation by inhalation – A strategy for respiratory diseases". The prize will be publicly announced on the opening of the 36th Congress of Pneumology, organized by the Portuguese Society of Pneumology, this Thursday at 7 pm, through the virtual conference set up for this edition.
Respiratory diseases are among the most impactful worldwide, such as tuberculosis, pneumonia, and more recently Covid-19, requiring increased attention on vaccination/immunisation.
Conventional vaccination typically involves injectable delivery, which is frequently ineffective in providing lung protection against respiratory infections. The prevention of these infections could be more efficient if the vaccination strategy involved the delivery through the respiratory mucosa (epithelial tissue that covers a large part of the respiratory tract, from the nasal cavity to the bronchi).
In this new project, the researchers propose a strategy to directly deliver antigens (a substance that when introduced into the body initiates the production of antibodies) in the lung mucosa, through the inhalation of microparticles, aiming at inducing both local and systemic immune responses and potentially improving the efficacy of vaccination/immunisation approaches. "The project has the capacity to impact the quality of life of patients and is highly translational (application of basic research results to clinical research), which we believe were the main reasons for its selection," explains our researcher and prize winner, Ana Grenha.
The amount of this award brings some funding that will help starting to explore ideas for the development of the project and also offers the research team more visibility and the possibility to reach clinical researchers.