Around one third of all people and many animals carry Staphylococcus aureus, which simply lives on most of us as a biofilm fairly harmlessly. Occasionally it causes minor spots on our skin, abscesses and soft tissue infections and some people can get infected over and over again.
On much rarer occasions it causes severe and life threatening infections that are significant medical problems. Many of these infections are made worse by the biofilm component of the overall disease, which helps to protect the bacteria from antibiotics.
"If individuals get infections many times, even after they have been cured by antibiotics, it indicates that their bodies have not become immune to Staph bacteria," said Professor Gerald Pier from Harvard Medical School in Boston, USA.
Staph bacteria tend to grow in cellular communities, particularly on medical devices commonly used on patients, producing what are called biofilm type infections. The devices range from simple catheters placed into blood vessels to those used for blood access for patients on dialysis to artificial heart valves, knees and hips. All patients with these types of devices in them have an increased risk for Staph infections. Living in biofilms protects the bacteria from antibiotics, making treatment more difficult.
"To grow as a biofilm the bacteria must produce sticky factors, one of which is a type of complex sugar called PNAG. We are targeting this material as a possible vaccine, but natural exposure to the sugar compound does not result in most people and animals making an immune response that would protect them from attack by the bacteria or recurring infections," said Professor Pier.
By manipulating the sugar chemically the scientists have discovered that they can produce variant forms which can be used as vaccines by causing the right type of immune response, an approach that has already been shown to work successfully in animal studies.
"We now have a way to tip the balance for resistance to infection back towards humans by vaccination," said Professor Pier. "It is most likely that one or more forms of the vaccine will be prepared to test in humans to see which form is best to get the most desirable antibodies made."
In addition, the researchers have created an antibody with the desired properties to give to people if they have a high risk of getting a Staph infection, thus preventing infection. "This antibody is being manufactured to start tests in humans in about 12 to 18 months," said Professor Pier. "An effective antibody treatment for Staph infections could have a major benefit for anyone who enters a hospital or works in the community and is at risk of Staph infections."
Lucy Goodchild | alfa
Millions through license revenues
27.04.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
New High-Performance Center Translational Medical Engineering
26.04.2017 | Fraunhofer ITEM
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
27.04.2017 | Life Sciences
27.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
27.04.2017 | Earth Sciences