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 Light-driven reaction converts carbon dioxide into fuel
23.02.2017 | Duke University

nachricht Oil and gas wastewater spills alter microbes in West Virginia waters
23.02.2017 | Rutgers University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Organ-on-a-chip mimics heart's biomechanical properties

23.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

Light-driven reaction converts carbon dioxide into fuel

23.02.2017 | Life Sciences

Oil and gas wastewater spills alter microbes in West Virginia waters

23.02.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>