A Human Immune System in a Test Tube
The immune system is complex, adaptive, and remarkably effective. Its defense mechanisms are specific to an individual’s body and its tissues and cells. Research using animals has been limited in its ability to predict how the human body will react to pathogens and treatments.
VaxDesign Corporation recently developed a model of the human immune system that can predict an individual’s immune response to a drug or vaccine candidate. MIMIC, or the Modular Immune In vitro Construct, is one of a growing number of alternatives to animal research.
Because MIMIC is based on human immune cells, it shows human responses and can accurately predict undesirable responses. The system can also include a donor base of hundreds of individuals, accessing potential responses in diverse populations.
The MIMIC System is designed to replace the use of animals for a range of research purposes, including vaccine testing. For example, researchers have been working to develop an HIV/AIDS vaccine for decades. More than 85 vaccines have demonstrated positive outcomes in chimpanzees, but none have been effective in human trials. The research community has seen similar failures in using chimpanzees in research to develop a hepatitis C vaccine.
The MIMIC System can process thousands of tests each month and is highly predictive. It could help accelerate the process of developing these and other vaccines—while producing data relevant to human populations.
VaxDesign is already working with the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, other nongovernmental organizations, the federal government, and leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to improve their productivity and advance the effectiveness and efficiency of medical research.