The specially engineered vaccine gives more immune bang for the buck than an injected one because it induces a local and a systemic immune response. The vaccine targets the first line of gut immune cells called dendritic cells -- the commanders-in-chiefs of the immune system. They engulf the vaccine then instruct the immune system's foot soldiers -- killer T-cells and B-cells -- to seek out and destroy any cells in the body infected with a particular bacterium or virus.
In the study, Mohamadzadeh fed mice the new oral anthrax vaccine, and then exposed them to anthrax bacteria. Eighty percent of the mice survived, which is comparable to the results when mice were injected with anthrax vaccine, he said.
"Their immune response was higher and more robust than with the injected vaccine," Mohamadzadeh said. The mice generated a much higher T and B immunity against the pathogenic bacteria.
Mohamadzadeh's vaccine technology can be applied to many other diseases. He is developing an oral vaccine for breast cancer using probiotics. The vaccine would use the Her2/neu breast cancer antigen, a protein highly produced by breast tumor cells, and train the immune system to destroy any cells producing Her2/neu, he said.
In addition, Mohamadzadeh has developed a "multi-tasking" cancer vaccine against breast, colon and pancreatic cancer that soon will be tested in mouse models.
The technology also can be used to develop a probiotic vaccine for HIV, hepatitis C and the flu, he said.
Terrence Barrrett, M.D., chief and professor of gastroenterology at the Feinberg School, said delivering a vaccine to the gut is the most logical route.
"Nature isn't used to seeing antigens injected into a muscle," said Barrett, who also is a physician at Northwestern Mem
|Contact: Marla Paul|