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.

Train the chicken immune system to improve vaccine mediated protection

Train the chicken innate immune system to boost vaccine responsiveness (INTRACHICK)

The aim of this project is to investigate training of the chicken innate immune system to develop novel strategies to strengthen vaccine mediated protection in the future. Scientists from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the Utrecht University will gain more knowledge on the novel concept of trained immunity in chickens and its consequences for the subsequent immune responsiveness. This knowledge can be translated by Vaxxinova for the development or improvement of vaccines against important poultry pathogens.

The discovery of innate immune training may have several consequences for vaccination of poultry. It may lead to novel vaccines that induce a more broad spectrum of protection or may lead to a decrease in the number of vaccinations to be administered. Since the Netherlands harbors many millions of chickens that are repeatedly vaccinated, more effective vaccination strategies will diminish the high costs that come with the current vaccination schemes and thus improve the economic well-being of farmers. Furthermore, it will improve animal welfare and affect the potential of transmission of avian pathogens to humans.

In the proposed project trained immunity in chickens will be investigated. First in vitro assays will be developed that monitor trained immunity in primary immune cells. Enhanced function of innate immune cells upon training will be the major readout. Next, these in vitro assays will be used to search for novel compounds that can induce trained immunity. Finally, the possibility of in vivo innate training will be explored.

Taken together, this project will lead to novel insights on innate immune training in chickens both in vitro and in vivo. It will result in assays to measure innate immune training in the lab, and identify novel compounds that are able to induce innate training. This knowledge may result in more efficient future vaccination strategies.