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 Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
24.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

nachricht How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>