"Targeting" antigens of the dendritic cells to develop vaccines
One of the main objectives of our laboratory is the development of vaccination strategies against chronic infectious diseases and cancers. Dendritic cells are antigen-presenting cells responsible for activating the T-lymphocytes. To this end, the dendritic cells must capture the antigen and undergo a process of maturation, which facilitates optimum presentation of the antigens to the T-lymphocytes. In our group, we have observed that an endogenous protein, the extra domain A of fibronectin (EDA), is capable of binding to the TLR4 molecule present on the surface of the dendritic cells and activating its maturation. The covalent bond of an antigen to the EDA protein potentiates the immune response against the antigen and therefore constitutes a vaccination strategy (Patent ES200501412). Another strategy we are using in the development of vaccines is based on the use of the modulins produced by Staphylococcus epidermidis. The pro-inflammatory activity of these modulins potentiates the adaptive immune response (Patent ES200803441). The combination of these vaccination platforms with other adjuvant or immune-potentiating strategies is a very active and attractive field in the design of new therapeutic strategies that we aim to bring to clinical practice. These studies have been the basis for the creation of the spin-off company Formune, which is dedicated to the development of a vaccine against cancer of the cervix.