Method to Produce Immunostimulatory Proteins and Tether Them to the Membrane of Enveloped Virus Vaccines

Case ID:

This technology is a method to produce immunostimulatory cytokine proteins and tether them to the membrane of enveloped virus vaccines produced in cell culture in order to improve vaccine efficacy.

Background & Unmet Need:

The successful elimination of pathogens following immunization depends on the ability of the host's immune system to become activated in response to immunization in order to mount an effective response, preferably with minimal injury to healthy tissue.  Among the most established ways for increasing the immunogenicity of antigens is the use of immunoenhancing agents, or “adjuvants”. Adjuvants accelerate, prolong, and/or enhance an antigen-specific immune response as well as provide selective induction of the appropriate type of response.  Cytokines as soluble proteins have proven to be effective as adjuvants for experimental viral vaccines because they boost immune responses.  However, there are limitations in formulations currently used to coadminister soluble cytokines.


Technology Description:

The present invention takes advantage of the immunostimulatory properties of cytokines, chemokines, and costimulatory molecules as a means to augment immune response to antigens and to produce novel vaccine formulations.  Our researchers have genetically modified a virus-producing cell line in order to produce a membrane-bound variant of the immunostimulatory molecule.  They have also demonstrated that IL-2 coupled tumor cells retained the bioactivity of IL2 and, upon injection into mice, induced antitumor immunity and T cytotoxic cells.  These results illustrate that membrane-bound cytokines can be stably packaged into virus particles and retain bioactivity upon viral inactivation.  Existing vaccines often do not provide protection for all individuals against all strains of a particular virus.  This technology may improve vaccine efficacy against both the targeted strain and its variants.


Commercial Applications:

  • Development of vaccines for all enveloped viruses, including influenza, respiratory syncytial virus, Herpes viruses, retroviruses (including HIV), several poultry viruses (NDV,  ILTV, IBV) and viruses of other food animals and pets


Stage of Development:



Competitive Advantages:

  • Provides protection for all individuals against targeted influenza virus strain
  • Improves vaccine efficacy against both the targeted strain and variants
  • Allows the use of lower doses of virus per vaccine
  • Reduces response time for production of vaccine against annual viral variants, avian influenza pandemics and bioterrorist introductions


Intellectual Property Status:

PCT application filed


Related Publications or Citations of Work:



Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Nicole Grynaviski
Commercialization Principal
Wayne State University
Roy Sundick
Paul Roberts
Yufang Yang