Development of a buccal self-amplifying mRNA vaccine for periodontal disease prophylaxis in dogs.

01 November 2021 → 31 October 2023
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Medical and health sciences
    • Applied immunology
  • Agricultural and food sciences
    • Veterinary immunology
    • Veterinary medicine not elsewhere classified
Periodontal disease prophylaxis Self-amplifying mRNA vaccine Microneedle-mediated buccal vaccination
Project description

About 9 out of 10 adult dogs have some form of Periodontal Disease (PD), an infection-induced inflammatory disease of the tooth-supporting tissues. PD is typically associated with halitosis, oral pain, and tooth loss; however, severe PD can lead to oronasal fistulation, oral osteomyelitis, and exacerbation of systemic disorders, like cardiovascular disease. Despite PD’s vast disease burden, control options remain limited and ineffective, consequently driving the indiscriminate use of antibiotics. Furthermore, intervention usually comes late, when the damage is extensive and irreversible. Periodontal vaccines can prevent PD initiation and progression, but long-term efficacy has been hindered in previous attempts by inadequate antigen selection and insufficient stimulation of mucosal immunity. To bridge the gap, we propose to develop a self-amplifying mRNA vaccine with a buccal microneedle-mediated delivery, which ensures the expression of key pathogen-specific antigens in buccal cells and elicits oral mucosal immunity. We will assess safety and efficacy in experimental models at each developmental stage, before a final short-term evaluation in dogs. To reach our objectives, we will build on our experience at Ghent University with complementary expertise from our partners at UC Davis and Utrecht University. Our approach offers a flexible platform for periodontal vaccines and may lead to veterinary and human medical applications due to interspecies similarities in PD.