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 Making fuel out of thick air
08.12.2017 | DOE/Argonne National Laboratory

nachricht ‘Spying’ on the hidden geometry of complex networks through machine intelligence
08.12.2017 | Technische Universität Dresden

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

Im Focus: Virtual Reality for Bacteria

An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications

Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...

Im Focus: A space-time sensor for light-matter interactions

Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.

The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...

Im Focus: A transistor of graphene nanoribbons

Transistors based on carbon nanostructures: what sounds like a futuristic dream could be reality in just a few years' time. An international research team working with Empa has now succeeded in producing nanotransistors from graphene ribbons that are only a few atoms wide, as reported in the current issue of the trade journal "Nature Communications."

Graphene ribbons that are only a few atoms wide, so-called graphene nanoribbons, have special electrical properties that make them promising candidates for the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

Blockchain is becoming more important in the energy market

05.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Making fuel out of thick air

08.12.2017 | Life Sciences

Rules for superconductivity mirrored in 'excitonic insulator'

08.12.2017 | Information Technology

Smartphone case offers blood glucose monitoring on the go

08.12.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>