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NIH awards La Jolla Institute $18.8 million for major infectious disease study
Date:12/17/2009

erculosis study, providing clinical samples from a diverse patient group reflecting the diversity of tuberculosis exposures and of patient ethnic backgrounds worldwide. "Using samples from a diverse patient population will enable us to ensure that the immune responses we're measuring will be universally protective," said Dr. Sette.

Joel Ernst, M.D., director of Infectious Diseases at New York University and a leader in the field of tuberculosis immunology, said the La Jolla Institute study may lead to an improved approach to tuberculosis vaccine development. "The scientific community's knowledge of T cell epitopes in TB is currently very limited," he said, noting that scientists are aware of a number of tuberculosis epitopes, but know little about those that have been identified.

"We're gradually coming to understand the complexity of the immune response in TB, and as we appreciate that complexity, we have to know what the targets of T cells are at various stages of infection and in people who have different outcomes," he said, adding that the La Jolla Institute study will be valuable in illuminating how tuberculosis epitopes trigger the immune system's T cells to launch an attack in a broad cross-section of patients.

According to the World Health Organization, about 1.6 million people die from tuberculosis each year and another nearly one million deaths are caused by malaria. In both diseases, people living in the poorest countries are the most vulnerable, with the majority of deaths occurring in the developing world. Currently, no vaccine exists for malaria. The World Health Organizations states that about 3.3 billion people - half of the world's population - are at risk for malaria. For tuberculosis, the only vaccine available, BCG, has varying degrees of efficacy. These factors, coupled with the emergence of multi-drug-resistant strains for both tuberculosis and malaria, have made the search for new, more effective counter-me
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Contact: Bonnie Ward
contact@liai.org
619-303-3160
La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology
Source:Eurekalert

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