Top Sector Life Sciences & Health (LSH) entails a broad scope of disciplines, from pharmaceuticals to medical technology and from healthcare infrastructure to vaccination. To realise its mission – vital citizens in a healthy economy - the Top Sector builds on the strengths of the Dutch LSH sector to address the biggest societal challenges in prevention, cure and care. By funding multidisciplinary public-private partnerships (PPPs) the Top Sector aims to facilitate innovation. Here we give an overview of  a number of funded R&D projects by Top Sector LSH. The page is updated continuously.

Training the pig’s innate immune system to enhance vaccine mediated protection

Training the pig’s innate immune system to enhance vaccine mediated protection (PiggyTrain)

In this project it will be investigated if trained immunity in pigs can lead to an enhanced vaccine mediated protection. The collaborative partners have already worked together in the past and will continue their fruitful partnership. Scientists from Utrecht University, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Immunology division will gain more knowledge on the novel concept of trained immunity in pigs and its consequences for adaptive immune responsiveness. This knowledge can be translated by Zoetis for the development or improvement of vaccines against important veterinary pathogens.

Although trained immunity has been reported in plants, invertebrates, mice, and humans, little is known about this process in species of veterinary relevance. This is surprising, since in livestock farming vaccination of young animals is common practice. Since these young animals lack a fully developed adaptive immune system innate immune responsiveness is likely to play a dominant role in shaping vaccine mediated protection.

In this project assays will be developed to measure trained immunity in pigs. Both the function of immune cells and DNA modification will be investigated. In the next phase, these assays will be used to determine the capacity of vaccine components to induce trained immunity. Selected components will then be used to compare trained immunity in very young pigs and older pigs. Optionally, knowledge acquired in this project can be validated in an in vivo proof-of-principle experiment to study whether trained immunity will result in enhanced immune responses upon vaccination.