Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Viruses could deliver HIV, malaria, rabies and cancer vaccines as pills

06.04.2005


Rabies, HIV, cancer and malaria could all be prevented with pills in the future, if a new technique using specially modified viruses to deliver vaccines is adopted, according to scientists speaking today (Tuesday, 05 April 2005) at the Society for General Microbiology’s 156th Meeting at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh.



"We can take a special type of virus which only infects bacteria, called a bacteriophage, and replace some of its DNA with vaccine DNA, and then use the phage to deliver vaccines in a highly efficient way," says Dr John March of the Moredun Research Institute, Penicuik, near Edinburgh.

A vaccine packaged in this way is cheap, simple to make, stable, and environmentally safe according to the researchers. Because the phage vaccine can be safely stored at room temperature as a dry powder, it should be possible to turn it into a pill form and deliver it as an oral vaccine. Since the phages can mass produce themselves the system would be very cheap, and easy to store and administer, making it ideal for use in the developing world to protect against diseases such as HIV/AIDS and malaria.


"We have already tested oral delivery of these vaccines, and the data suggest that they work," says Dr March. "We have successful test results from mice, rabbits and sheep - animals in which conventional DNA vaccines do not work - so we are confident that the technique will work for people. Bacteriophages have been used as medicines in eastern Europe since the 1930s to fight bacterial infections, so we have a long history of their safe use in humans, and of large scale manufacturing."

The phage vaccines have several advantages over traditional ’naked’ DNA vaccines - they can contain much larger sections of DNA, triggering a more effective immune response. Because the phage vaccine is protected within a virus shell it can be targeted at specific cells in the body, and the shell stops it breaking down and becoming ineffective.

The new vaccines can also be used for diseases where the vaccine material is difficult or expensive to produce using conventional approaches, such as for cancers. The doses needed are much smaller than conventional DNA vaccines, where high doses and multiple injection regimes are often needed. The large cloning capacity of phages means that several vaccines could be delivered simultaneously.

The main applications will be in producing cheap general vaccines for the developing world, and in specialist applications in the developed world in situations where conventional vaccines do not work. In developing countries a pill form of vaccine would do away with the need for scarce and expensive cold storage systems, and also will have no need for a constant supply of clean needles.

"Wildlife use is also ideal since phages are cheap and stable so we can use them in baits or with oral delivery," says Dr March. "This would be ideal for a rabies vaccine, where wildlife programmes will play a major role in disease eradication. The antibody response against the phage is a useful side effect as it gives us a simple marker to tell between vaccinated and naturally infected animals."

"The special phages we are using cannot replicate outside the laboratory, so they are environmentally safe and friendly," explains Dr John March. "The fact that we can make them with the bare minimum of laboratory equipment and expertise only adds to the potential of this exciting new technology."

Faye Jones | alfa
Further information:
http://www.sgm.ac.uk

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht 'Lipid asymmetry' plays key role in activating immune cells
20.02.2018 | Biophysical Society

nachricht New printing technique uses cells and molecules to recreate biological structures
20.02.2018 | Queen Mary University of London

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

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...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

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

'Lipid asymmetry' plays key role in activating immune cells

20.02.2018 | Life Sciences

MRI technique differentiates benign breast lesions from malignancies

20.02.2018 | Medical Engineering

Major discovery in controlling quantum states of single atoms

20.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>