Novel Immunomodulators and Vaccine Adjuvants

A class of compounds possessing potent immunomodulatory activity, to enhance the protection of vaccines against infectious agents.

The Need

While vaccines are commonly used today for a variety of diseases and have proven efficacious for disease prevention, some vaccines do not efficiently activate an immune response. About 10% of vaccinations fail to mount adequate antibody levels to routine vaccinations. Also, many viruses rapidly mutate into strains for which current vaccines are no longer active, and new vaccines cannot be quickly developed. Hence, there is an unmet need to develop new technologies to improve the effectiveness of vaccination. Adjuvants can be included in a given vaccine to potentiate immune activation and improve the quality of the vaccine.

The Technology

Researchers at The Ohio State University, led by Dr. Abhay Satoskar, have discovered that Pentalinonsterol (PEN), an isolated compound from the roots of Pentalinon andrieuxii, enhances expression of immunomoduatory transcription factors. In a mouse model of infection, mice immunized with ovalbumin and PEN showed enhanced production of inflammatory cytokines, antigen-specific Th1 and Th2 cytokines in their splenocytes and lymph nodes, as well as increased antibody responses, IgG1 and IgG2 in their sera. Based on these in vivo results, PEN is a potent immunomodulatory compound and could be used as an adjuvant for vaccine development for treatment of infectious diseases.

Patent Status

Commercial Applications

  • Vaccine adjuvant development
  • Improvement of suboptimal vaccines
  • Can apply to both human and animal vaccines


  • Enhanced immune response
  • Can be harvested from plants without requiring extensive chemical synthesis steps
  • Minor chemical modifications to this product may further improve adjuvant activity

Loading icon