Navigation Links
Breakthrough in the treatment of bacterial meningitis

It can take just hours after the symptoms appear for someone to die from bacterial meningitis. Now, after years of research, experts at The University of Nottingham have finally discovered how the deadly meningococcal bacteria is able to break through the body's natural defence mechanism and attack the brain.

The discovery could lead to better treatment and vaccines for meningitis and could save the lives of hundreds of children.

Bacterial meningitis in childhood is almost exclusively caused by the respiratory tract pathogens Streptococcus pneumoniae, Neisseria meningitidis, and Haemophilus influenzae. The mechanism used by these lethal germs to break through the blood brain barrier (BBB) has, until now, been unknown.

The team led by Dlawer Ala'Aldeen, Professor of Clinical Microbiology and Head of the Molecular Bacteriology and Immunology Group at the Centre for Biomolecular Sciences, recently discovered that all three pathogens target the same receptor on human cerebrovascular endothelial cells the specialised filtering system that protects our brain from disease enabling the organisms to cross the blood-brain barrier.

Their findings, published today in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, suggest that disruption or modulation of this interaction of bacterial adhesins with the receptor might offer unexpectedly broad protection against bacterial meningitis and may provide a therapeutic target for the prevention and treatment of disease.

Professor Ala'Aldeen, who has been studying meningitis and its causes for over 20 years, said: "This is a significant breakthrough which will help us design novel strategies for the prevention and treatment of bacterial meningitis. Identification of the human receptor and bacterial ligands is like identifying a mysterious key and its lock, which will open new doors and pave the way for new discoveries."

The research, carried out in collaboration with the Department of Infectious Diseases at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis Tennessee, also involved students from the University who have been regular and willing volunteers in the research programme.

Professor Ala'Aldeen said: "The ultimate aim is to save lives by protecting the healthy and curing the sick. We are one step closer to new breakthroughs that would prevent disease or its complications. There still is a long way to go before we have the ultimate vaccine and the ultimate treatment of bacterial meningitis."


Contact: Professor Dlawer Ala-Aldeen
University of Nottingham

Related biology news :

1. New technique can be breakthrough for early cancer diagnosis
2. Breakthrough research identifies how cells from pigs may cure diabetes
3. Male contraception breakthroughs to be presented, Seattle Sept. 27-28
4. Major genetic breakthrough for ankylosing spondylitis brings treatment hope
5. Oosight microscope enables embryonic stem cell breakthrough
6. Brain-computer link systems on the brink of breakthrough, study finds
7. Breakthrough technology observes synapse in real time, supporting theory of vesicular recycling
8. Medical breakthrough for organ transplants and cardiovascular diseases by Flemish researchers
9. Genetic breakthrough offers promise in tackling kidney tumors
10. University of Alberta researchers report breakthrough in lowering bad cholesterol, fatty acid levels
11. Further breakthroughs for breast cancer patients
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/27/2016)... June 27, 2016 Research and Markets has ... 2016-2020" report to their offering. ... America to grow at a CAGR of 12.28% during ... based on an in-depth market analysis with inputs from industry experts. ... the coming years. The report also includes a discussion of the ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... 22, 2016  The American College of Medical Genetics and ... Magazine as one of the fastest-growing trade shows during ... the Bellagio in Las Vegas . ... of growth in each of the following categories: net square ... number of attendees. The 2015 ACMG Annual Meeting was ranked ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... 22, 2016   Acuant , the ... solutions, has partnered with RightCrowd ® ... Visitor Management, Self-Service Kiosks and Continuous Workforce ... add functional enhancements to existing physical access ... venues with an automated ID verification and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Houston ... with the Cy-Fair Sports Association to serve as ... the agreement, Houston Methodist Willowbrook will provide sponsorship ... and connectivity with association coaches, volunteers, athletes and ... with the Cy-Fair Sports Association and to bring ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Supplyframe, ... of the Supplyframe Design Lab . Located in Pasadena, Calif., the Design ... of how hardware projects are designed, built and brought to market. , The ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 ... 2016;12(1):22-8 Published recently ... peer-reviewed journal from touchONCOLOGY, Andrew D Zelenetz ... of cancer care is placing an increasing burden ... expensive biologic therapies. With the patents on many ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... SAN FRANCISCO , June 22, 2016  Amgen ... platinum sponsorship of the QB3@953 life sciences ... improve human health. The shared laboratory space at QB3@953 ... startups overcome a key obstacle for many early stage ... As part of the sponsorship, Amgen launched two "Amgen ...
Breaking Biology Technology: