50 research outputs found

    The co-operative model as a means of stakeholder management: an exploratory qualitative analysis

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    The South African economy has for some time been characterised by high unemployment, income inequality and a skills mismatch, all of which have contributed to conflict between business, government and labour. The co-operative model of stakeholder management is examined as a possible mitigating organisational form in this high-conflict environment. International experience indicates some success with co-operative models but they are not easy to implement effectively and face severe obstacles. Trust and knowledge sharing are critical for enabling a co-operative model of stakeholder management, which requires strong governance and adherence to strict rules. The model must balance the tension between optimisation of governance structures and responsiveness to members' needs. Furthermore, support from social and political institutions is necessary. We find barriers to scalability which manifest in the lack of depth of business skills, negative perception of the co-operative model by external stakeholders, government ambivalence, and a lack of willingness on the part of workers to co-operate for mutual benefit

    Layer-by-Layer-Assembled Multilayer Films for Transcutaneous Drug and Vaccine Delivery

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    We describe protein- and oligonucleotide-loaded layer-by-layer (LbL)-assembled multilayer films incorporating a hydrolytically degradable polymer for transcutaneous drug or vaccine delivery. Films were constructed based on electrostatic interactions between a cationic poly(ő≤-amino ester) (denoted Poly-1) with a model protein antigen, ovalbumin (ova), and/or immunostimulatory CpG (cytosine‚ąíphosphate diester‚ąíguanine-rich) DNA oligonucleotide adjuvant molecules. Linear growth of nanoscale Poly-1/ova bilayers was observed. Dried ova protein-loaded films rapidly deconstructed when rehydrated in saline solutions, releasing ova as nonaggregated/nondegraded protein, suggesting that the structure of biomolecules integrated into these multilayer films is preserved during release. Using confocal fluorescence microscopy and an in vivo murine ear skin model, we demonstrated delivery of ova from LbL films into barrier-disrupted skin, uptake of the protein by skin-resident antigen-presenting cells (Langerhans cells), and transport of the antigen to the skin-draining lymph nodes. Dual incorporation of ova and CpG oligonucleotides into the nanolayers of LbL films enabled dual release of the antigen and adjuvant with distinct kinetics for each component; ova was rapidly released, while CpG was released in a relatively sustained manner. Applied as skin patches, these films delivered ova and CpG to Langerhans cells in the skin. To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of LbL films applied for the delivery of biomolecules into skin. This approach provides a new route for storage of vaccines and other immunotherapeutics in a solid-state thin film for subsequent delivery into the immunologically rich milieu of the skin.Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Institute for Soldier NanotechnologiesSingapore. Agency for Science, Technology and Researc

    Composite Dissolving Microneedles for Coordinated Control of Antigen and Adjuvant Delivery Kinetics in Transcutaneous Vaccination

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    Transcutaneous administration has the potential to improve therapeutics delivery, providing an approach that is safer and more convenient than traditional alternatives, while offering the opportunity for improved therapeutic efficacy through sustained/controlled drug release. To this end, a microneedle materials platform is demonstrated for rapid implantation of controlled-release polymer depots into the cutaneous tissue. Arrays of microneedles composed of drug-loaded poly(lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA) microparticles or solid PLGA tips are prepared with a supporting and rapidly water-soluble poly(acrylic acid) (PAA) matrix. Upon application of microneedle patches to the skin of mice, the microneedles perforate the stratum corneum and epidermis. Penetration of the outer skin layers is followed by rapid dissolution of the PAA binder on contact with the interstitial fluid of the epidermis, implanting the microparticles or solid polymer microneedles in the tissue, which are retained following patch removal. These polymer depots remain in the skin for weeks following application and sustain the release of encapsulated cargos for systemic delivery. To show the utility of this approach the ability of these composite microneedle arrays to deliver a subunit vaccine formulation is demonstrated. In comparison to traditional needle-based vaccination, microneedle delivery gives improved cellular immunity and equivalent generation of serum antibodies, suggesting the potential of this approach for vaccine delivery. However, the flexibility of this system should allow for improved therapeutic delivery in a variety of diverse contexts.Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and HarvardNational Institutes of Health (U.S.) (Award AI095109)United States. Army Research Office (Contract W911NF-07-D-0004

    Polymer multilayer tattooing for enhanced DNA vaccination

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    DNA vaccines have many potential benefits but have failed to generate robust immune responses in humans. Recently, methods such as in vivo electroporation have demonstrated improved performance, but an optimal strategy for safe, reproducible, and pain-free DNA vaccination remains elusive. Here we report an approach for rapid implantation of vaccine-loaded polymer films carrying DNA, immune-stimulatory RNA, and biodegradable polycations into the immune-cell-rich epidermis, using microneedles coated with releasable polyelectrolyte multilayers. Films transferred into the skin following brief microneedle application promoted local transfection and controlled the persistence of DNA and adjuvants in the skin from days to weeks, with kinetics determined by the film composition. These ‚Äėmultilayer tattoo‚Äô DNA vaccines induced immune responses against a model HIV antigen comparable to electroporation in mice, enhanced memory T-cell generation, and elicited 140-fold higher gene expression in non-human primate skin than intradermal DNA injection, indicating the potential of this strategy for enhancing DNA vaccination.Howard Hughes Medical Institute (Investigator)Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and HarvardNational Institutes of Health (U.S.) (NIH AI095109)United States. Dept. of Defense. Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies (contract W911NF-07-D-0004)United States. Dept. of Defense. Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies (contract W911NF-07-0004

    Temporal dynamics of intradermal cytokine response to tuberculin in Mycobacterium bovis BCG-vaccinated cattle using sampling microneedles

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    AbstractBovine tuberculosis (bTB) is a disease of livestock with severe and worldwide economic, animal welfare and zoonotic consequences. Application of test-and-slaughter-based control polices reliant on tuberculin skin testing has been the mainstay of bTB control in cattle. However, little is known about the temporal development of the bovine tuberculin skin test response at the dermal sites of antigen injection. To fill this knowledge gap, we applied minimally-invasive¬†sampling microneedles¬†(SMNs) for intradermal sampling of interstitial fluid at the tuberculin skin¬†test sites in Mycobacterium bovis BCG-vaccinated calves and determined the temporal dynamics of a panel of 15 cytokines and chemokines in situ and in the peripheral blood. The results reveal an orchestrated and coordinated cytokine and local chemokine response, identified IL-1RA as a potential soluble biomarker of a positive tuberculin skin response, and confirmed the utility of IFN-ő≥ and IP-10 for bTB detection in blood-based assays. Together, the results highlight the utility of SMNs¬†to identify novel biomarkers and provide mechanistic insights on the intradermal cytokine and chemokine responses associated with the tuberculin skin test in BCG-sensitized cattle.</jats:p

    Seven Key Principles of Program and Project Success: A Best Practices Survey

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    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Organization Design Team (ODT), consisting of 20 seasoned program and project managers and systems engineers from a broad spectrum of the aerospace industry, academia, and government, was formed to support the Next Generation Launch Technology (NGLT) Program and the Constellation Systems Program. The purpose of the ODT was to investigate organizational factors that can lead to success or failure of complex government programs, and to identify tools and methods for the design, modeling, and analysis of new and more-efficient program and project organizations. The ODT conducted a series of workshops featuring invited lectures from seasoned program and project managers representing 25 significant technical programs spanning 50 years of experience. The result was the identification of seven key principles of program success that can be used to help design and operate future program organizations. This paper presents the success principles and examples of best practices that can significantly improve the design of program, project, and performing technical line organizations, the assessment of workforce needs and organization performance, and the execution of programs and projects

    Vaccine delivery with microneedle skin patches in nonhuman primates

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    Transcutaneous drug delivery from planar skin patches is effective for small-molecule drugs and skin-permeable vaccine adjuvants. However, to achieve efficient delivery of vaccines and other macromolecular therapeutics into the skin, penetration of the stratum corneum is needed. Topically applied skin patches with micron-scale projections ('microneedles') pierce the upper layers of the skin and enable vaccines that are coated on or encapsulated within the microneedles to be dispersed into the skin. Although millimeter-scale syringes have shown promise for vaccine delivery in humans and technologies, such as the Dermaroller (Dermaroller, Wolfenb√ľttel, Germany), exist for creating microscale punctures in the skin for delivery of solutions of therapeutics, solid microprojection microneedles coated with dry vaccine formulations offer a number of valuable features for vaccination, including reduced risk of blood-borne pathogen transmission or needle-stick injury, the potential for vaccine administration by minimally trained personnel or even self administration and the use of solid-state vaccine formulations that may reduce or eliminate cold-chain requirements in vaccine distribution. Recent studies in mice have demonstrated the ability of microneedles to effectively deliver vaccines to the skin, eliciting protective immunity to influenza, hepatitis C and West Nile virus.Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and HarvardMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyHarvard UniversityNational Institutes of Health (U.S.) (AI095109)National Institutes of Health (U.S.) (AI096040)National Institutes of Health (U.S.) (AI095985)National Institutes of Health (U.S.) (AI078526)National Institutes of Health (U.S.) (AI060354)United States. Dept. of Defense (Contract W911NF-07-D-0004

    31st Annual Meeting and Associated Programs of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC 2016) : part two

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    Background The immunological escape of tumors represents one of the main ob- stacles to the treatment of malignancies. The blockade of PD-1 or CTLA-4 receptors represented a milestone in the history of immunotherapy. However, immune checkpoint inhibitors seem to be effective in specific cohorts of patients. It has been proposed that their efficacy relies on the presence of an immunological response. Thus, we hypothesized that disruption of the PD-L1/PD-1 axis would synergize with our oncolytic vaccine platform PeptiCRAd. Methods We used murine B16OVA in vivo tumor models and flow cytometry analysis to investigate the immunological background. Results First, we found that high-burden B16OVA tumors were refractory to combination immunotherapy. However, with a more aggressive schedule, tumors with a lower burden were more susceptible to the combination of PeptiCRAd and PD-L1 blockade. The therapy signifi- cantly increased the median survival of mice (Fig. 7). Interestingly, the reduced growth of contralaterally injected B16F10 cells sug- gested the presence of a long lasting immunological memory also against non-targeted antigens. Concerning the functional state of tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs), we found that all the immune therapies would enhance the percentage of activated (PD-1pos TIM- 3neg) T lymphocytes and reduce the amount of exhausted (PD-1pos TIM-3pos) cells compared to placebo. As expected, we found that PeptiCRAd monotherapy could increase the number of antigen spe- cific CD8+ T cells compared to other treatments. However, only the combination with PD-L1 blockade could significantly increase the ra- tio between activated and exhausted pentamer positive cells (p= 0.0058), suggesting that by disrupting the PD-1/PD-L1 axis we could decrease the amount of dysfunctional antigen specific T cells. We ob- served that the anatomical location deeply influenced the state of CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes. In fact, TIM-3 expression was in- creased by 2 fold on TILs compared to splenic and lymphoid T cells. In the CD8+ compartment, the expression of PD-1 on the surface seemed to be restricted to the tumor micro-environment, while CD4 + T cells had a high expression of PD-1 also in lymphoid organs. Interestingly, we found that the levels of PD-1 were significantly higher on CD8+ T cells than on CD4+ T cells into the tumor micro- environment (p < 0.0001). Conclusions In conclusion, we demonstrated that the efficacy of immune check- point inhibitors might be strongly enhanced by their combination with cancer vaccines. PeptiCRAd was able to increase the number of antigen-specific T cells and PD-L1 blockade prevented their exhaus- tion, resulting in long-lasting immunological memory and increased median survival

    Effect of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor and angiotensin receptor blocker initiation on organ support-free days in patients hospitalized with COVID-19