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Self-assembling proteins create precisely blended vaccines

Sticky Proteins Carry Vaccines

Successful vaccines and immune therapies contain more than just bits of harmful bugs; they also contain components that guide our immune response, making them more effective. Duke engineer Joel Collier and his group are hacking proteins’ natural ability to bend, fold, and assemble to create precisely blended vaccines. His team attaches important proteins (modeled here as red, cyan, and green) to short nanofiber segments (grey). When mixed, the proteins self-organize, creating a scaffold that delivers the perfect concoction of chemicals. In the future, these scaffolds might be used in many other applications, from tissue engineering to nanofabrication. (Image credit: Peter Allen)