September 4, 2011 ─ (BRONX, NY) ─ Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University report in the September 4 online edition of Nature Medicine that they have developed a tuberculosis (TB) vaccine candidate that proved both potent and safe in animal studies. (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs104/en/) According to the World Health Organization, TB kills an estimated 1.7 million people each year and infects one out of three people around the globe. With drug-resistant strains spreading, a vaccine for preventing TB is urgently needed.
"Producing effective TB vaccines requires a better understanding of the mechanisms used by Mycobacterium tuberculosis [the bacterial species that causes TB] to evade the body's immune responses," said senior author William Jacobs, Jr., Ph.D., professor of microbiology & immunology and of genetics at Einstein and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. He notes that the only currently used vaccine, the Bacille Calmette-Gurin (BCG) vaccine, has been notoriously inconsistent in protecting against TB.
To determine how M. tuberculosis outwits the immune response, Dr. Jacobs and his colleagues worked with a closely related species known as Mycobacterium smegmatis that is lethal to mice at high doses but does not harm people. The researchers created a version of M. smegmatis lacking a set of genes, known as ESX-3, considered crucial for evading host immunity. When high doses of the altered bacteria were infused into mice, it became clear that bacteria lacking the ESX-3genes could no longer evade their hosts' immune system: the mice controlled and cleared th
|Contact: Kim Newman|
Albert Einstein College of Medicine