One of the most successful interventions in reducing infectious disease worldwide, vaccination still has limited effectiveness in protecting one group of patients - newborn infants. Now a study based at the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard has determined how a pregnant woman's vaccine-induced immunity is transferred to her child, which has implications for the development of more effective maternal vaccines. The report will be published in the June 27 issue of Cell and, receiving early online release on June 13, 2019. The article is titled “Fc Glycan-Mediated Regulation of Placental Antibody Transfer” "Newborns arrive into the world on the first day of life with brand-new immune systems that, like the children themselves, need to learn to cope with both helpful and harmful microbes in their environment," says Galit Alter (photo), PhD, of the Ragon Institute and the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Department of Medicine, co-senior author of the Cell paper. "To help the newborn immune system learn to discriminate between friend and foe, mothers transfer antibodies to their infants via the placenta. The rules by which the placenta performs this absolutely essential function have been unknown but, if decoded, could hold the key to generating more powerful vaccines to protect these most precious patients." While maternal antibodies against some diseases such as measles can be transferred from mother to infant, providing some protection until the child is old enough for individual vaccination, antibodies to other serious diseases like polio are less efficiently transferred. To investigate the mechanisms by which antibodies are transferred from mother to child, Dr.
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