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TB breakthrough could lead to stronger vaccine
Date:3/3/2009

ce Center at San Antonio's Medical Research Division in Edinburg, Texas.

This dual approach to the BCG vaccine was associated with a tenfold increase in the number of TB organisms killed and a threefold increase in the duration of protection in tests with an NIH-approved mouse model, Jagannath said.

"The breakthrough is that Dr. Jagannath has countered the ability of TB organisms to subvert immunization," said Robert L. Hunter Jr., M.D., Ph.D., one of the study's two senior authors and chair of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the UT Medical School at Houston.

Tuberculosis hides in cells so the antigens are not recognized by the immune system. The BCG vaccine also does the same thing, as previously reported in The Journal of Immunology in 2006 by Jagannath and Christopher Singh, a doctoral student at The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston.

"Dr. Jagannath hypothesized that a drug, rapamycin, which modulates the movement of particles in cells, would cause BCG antigens to enter pathways leading to improved immunization," Hunter said. "In addition, Dr. Jagannath had previously demonstrated that genetic deletion of the fpbA gene has similar effects."

Rapamycin is a drug used to fight cancer and inflammation. In 1992, the Organ Transplantation Center at the UT Medical School was first to conduct rapamycin clinical trials. The UT group led by Barry D. Kahan, M.D., Ph.D., now professor emeritus, showed that rapamycin significantly reduces the frequency of acute kidney transplant rejection.

"Our findings break new ground in vaccine research in general and make improvements for antituberculosis vaccines in particular, because they provide a simple and powerful strategy to enhance vaccine efficiency," the researchers wrote in the paper. They now plan to add additional antigens to the BCG vaccine to further improve its effectiveness before clinical trials.

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Contact: Robert Cahill
Robert.Cahill@uth.tmc.edu
713-500-3030
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Source:Eurekalert

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