Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Weill Cornell team develops fast-acting anthrax vaccine

13.01.2005


Gene transfer technique immunizes mice within 12 hours



Using gene transfer technology, investigators were able to immunize mice against anthrax in just 12 hours, according to new research featured in the February 2005 issue of Molecular Therapy, the peer-reviewed scientific journal of the American Society of Gene Therapy (ASGT).

In any bioterror attack, vaccines that provide a rapid, effective defense against the pathogen will be key to saving lives. Research underway at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City may provide health officials with a much quicker option than vaccines currently available, which can take weeks or months to gain full effect. "This research is important, because in the event of an attack, it may not be known whether another attack is coming -- or who might be affected. In that case, you want immunity to be built up in key populations as quickly as possible," said Dr. Ronald G. Crystal, Chairman of the Department of Genetic Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College and Chief of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.


Vaccines tend to fall into one of two groups -- active vaccines, where the body is prompted over time to build up antibodies against specific threats; and passive vaccines, where fully-formed antibodies are delivered to the body in vaccine form. "Because the body continues to produce antibodies, active vaccines last much longer than the passive kind, whose effectiveness tends to diminish over time," Dr. Crystal explained.

But active vaccines have one major drawback: they need lots of time to develop. For example, the anthrax vaccine provided to US Army troops following the 2001 attacks requires that troops receive six doses stretched over 18 months. Populations threatened by the sudden dispersal of deadly anthrax spores won’t have the luxury of that much time. So Cornell researchers turned their attention to faster-acting passive vaccines. "We looked especially at the use of gene transfer technology -- introducing genes that can manufacture antibodies against key components of the anthrax toxin."

Genes need a live means of entering the body, however, so Dr. Crystal’s team incorporated the gene within a harmless organism called an adenovirus. "The adenovirus delivers the gene to the mouse, and then the gene goes to work -- telling the animal’s body to make this antibody against anthrax," Dr. Crystal said.

The study found:

  • Once inside the mouse’s body, the gene began producing an immune-system antibody targeted to a key component of the deadly anthrax toxin.
  • Mice were immune to anthrax within 12 to 18 hours of vaccination, indicating that the gene transfer strategy works very quickly.
  • Passive vaccines might never fully replace active varieties. According to the research, the new vaccine will probably work best when used in combination with an active vaccine.

While gene transfer has been used to deliver antibodies in other clinical settings, "to our knowledge this is the first time it’s been used as a strategy against bioterrorism," Dr. Crystal said.

Many hurdles remain before this type of vaccine might be ready for public use. Dosing issues will be an area of focus. It might also take two or more years of testing in animal models before the vaccine is deemed safe enough to test in humans.

"Passive vaccines like this one can lose their effectiveness over time, whereas active vaccines do not," Dr. Crystal explained. "We’re now developing a strategy where we might give people both the active and passive vaccine. With the passive vaccine you’d get protection that would last a couple of weeks, but that would give you a safety margin while your body is developing more active, long-term immunity."

The research was supported, in part, by a Gift from Robert A. Belfer to Support Development of an Antibioterrorism Vaccine, and by the the Will Rogers Memorial Fund (Los Angeles, CA). Co-researchers included Dr. Kazuhiko Kasuya, Dr. Julie Boyer, and Dr. Yadi Tan, of the Department of Genetic Medicine; and Dr. Neil R. Hackett and D. Olivier Alipui, of the Belfer Gene Therapy Core Faculty, at Weill Medical College of Cornell University.

Sean Kelliher | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.asgt.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Newly designed molecule binds nitrogen
23.02.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Atomic Design by Water
23.02.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Attoseconds break into atomic interior

A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.

In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...

Im Focus: Good vibrations feel the force

A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.

By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Basque researchers turn light upside down

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Finnish research group discovers a new immune system regulator

23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Attoseconds break into atomic interior

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>