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New insights could lead to a better pneumococcal vaccine
Date:9/22/2008

ce, they show directly that exposure to pneumococcus triggers the development of these T cells and shortens the duration of nasal carriage of the pathogen.

The investigators also describe an efficient way of measuring TH17 cells, which could help determine whether a new vaccine is rallying an effective response. "We are now evaluating vaccine candidates and changing them so they not only induce antibodies, but also induce this specific type of immunity," says Malley. "A vaccine that induces both protective antibodies and T-cell immunity to pneumococcus may be a very effective way to protect against this potentially devastating disease."

Malley's own lab is developing an inexpensive whole-cell pneumococcal vaccine that elicits a robust TH17 response in mice. With support from the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH), a nonprofit group funded in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the vaccine is being manufactured for future human testing by Instituto Butantan, a manufacturer in Brazil. Malley's laboratory is testing various forms of the vaccine in animals, including nasal and oral versions. The advantage of a whole-cell vaccine is that it can broadly protect against all pneumococcal strains and would be very inexpensive to produce and administer.

Malley believes the ability to induce protective T-cell responses may have relevance for other infections of childhood, such as Staphylococcus aureus and Haemophilus influenzae. Such responses are also being evaluated in pathogens against which antibodies are ineffective, such as herpes simplex, malaria and tuberculosis.


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Contact: Keri Stedman
keri.stedman@childrens.harvard.edu
617-919-3110
Children's Hospital Boston
Source:Eurekalert

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