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Einstein awarded $6 million grant to develop new TB vaccine against drug-resistant strains
Date:5/31/2012

May 31, 2012 (Bronx, NY) The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University a five-year, $5.9 million grant to develop a new vaccine against tuberculosis (TB), including the toughest-to-treat forms of the disease known as multi drug-resistant and extensively drug-resistant. The grant will build on a new approach to TB vaccine design that is based on genetically altered Mycobacterium smegmatis, which is closely related to the bacterial species (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) that causes TB in humans.

In a study published last September in Nature Medicine, Einstein researchers demonstrated that some animals inoculated with the altered M. smegmatis are able to generate a robust immune response when challenged with M. tuberculosis.

Despite widespread use of the 90-year-old Bacille Calmette-Gurin (BCG) vaccine and the availability of several anti-TB drugs, TB remains a major global health problem. In 2010, 8.8 million people fell ill with TB and 1.4 million died of the disease, according to the World Health Organization. The situation has worsened in recent years with the rise of multi drug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) and extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB), which are especially common in Africa and Asia.

"Novel therapies for TB are urgently needed, particularly a new and effective vaccine," said William Jacobs, Jr., Ph.D., professor of microbiology & immunology and of

Contact: Kim Newman
sciencenews@einstein.yu.edu
718-430-3101
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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