Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Hi-tech vaccine designed by students shows promise against ulcer causing bacteria

10.12.2008
Engineering vaccines against ulcer-causing bacteria to enhance immune defense brings victory to Slovenian synthetic biologists at the international competition at MIT

Almost half of the world population is infected with bacteria Helicobacter pylori which colonizes stomach, causing gastritis and ulcers and is recognized by WHO as a type I carcinogen.

Current antibacterial treatment, implemented after the seminal discovery that H. pylori infection is the underlying cause of ulcers, which brought the discoverers the Nobel Prize in 2005, requires combination of at least three different drugs to eliminate bacteria. However, it does not prevent reinfection, which often occurs within the family. Additionally, bacterial resistance decreases the efficiency of therapy. Effective vaccine against Helicobacter pylori is not available, although it could be a durable solution, particularly in a formulation affordable to the third world population.

Helicobacter is able to withstand the harsh environment of stomach and avoids immune recognition by making itself invisible to the cellular receptors by modifying several of its components such as those of the flagella, which it uses to propel within the lining of stomach and duodenum.

Team of undergraduate students of the University of Ljubljana, led by their mentors from the National Institute of Chemistry and University reported on the research project, aimed at preparing a hi-tech vaccine against Helicobacter. Their strategy was to modify the flagellin of Helicobacter pylori by transplanting segments of flagellin from another bacterium, which is able to efficiently activate cellular immune receptors. They managed to demonstrate that this type of modification makes flagellin of Helicobacter visible to the immune system. To increase the efficiency of immune response they added several segments of most important virulence factors of Helicobacter pylori to a synthetic vaccine. They prepared three different implementations of vaccine, including isolated proteins, DNA vaccine and modified bacteria that present polypeptides of Helicobacter at their surface. “We think that bacteria might be easiest to implement as the vaccine in remote areas, because you could just reconstitute lyophilized bacteria or bacterial ghosts, provided that the oral or mucosal vaccination would show adequate efficiency”, is optimistic Jerneja Mori, fourth grade student of microbiology at the Biotechnical Faculty.

Project was accomplished in five months from the idea to the demonstration of the proof of concept and was prepared as entry for the International Genetically Engineered Machines Competition (iGEM) held each year at MIT, Cambridge, USA. This year 84 teams from 21 countries including world’s best universities competed with their projects in synthetic biology. Six finalists (Slovenia, Harvard, Caltech, Freiburg, UC Berkeley and NYMU Taipei) presented their project to all participants and judges, coming from academia, biotech, pharmaceutical and science publishing companies. Slovenian teams had a row of successes at this competition, qualifying each time in the last three years among the finalists. This year their project was selected as the best in the track “Health and Medicine” and they also won the Grand Prize award in overall ranking.

Team leader prof. Roman Jerala, head of the Department of Biotechnology at the National Institute of Chemistry, Slovenia explains: “I had some doubts whether it will be possible to demonstrate the proof of principle within such a short time. Nevertheless, students were extremely motivated and we were able to demonstrate activation of immune receptors and response in vivo against the proteins of Helicobacter pylori”. “Before we can state that vaccine is truly effective, we have to do much more work but current results are quite encouraging”, is optimistic mentor prof. Simon Horvat from the Biotechnical Faculty of the University of Ljubljana.

In addition to modified flagellin, Slovenian team proposed another approach which involved modifications of the signaling network of innate immune receptors. The power of this approach is that we can mimic synergistic activation of several TLRs by pathogenic microbes, while having the advantage of safety of a defined subunit vaccine. They have already filed two patent applications and are determined to continue to complete all the tests of the therapeutic efficiency of vaccine. “The ultimate goal would be to prepare a vaccine to eradicate Helicobacter pylori”, says Jan Lonzaric, student of biochemistry, who successfully presented the project at the competition.

Brigita Pirc | alfa
Further information:
http://2008.igem.org/Main_Page

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht 3D images of cancer cells in the body: Medical physicists from Halle present new method
16.05.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

nachricht Better equipped in the fight against lung cancer
16.05.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

Im Focus: Computer-Designed Customized Regenerative Heart Valves

Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.

Producing living tissue or organs based on human cells is one of the main research fields in regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering, which involves growing...

Im Focus: Light-induced superconductivity under high pressure

A team of scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg investigated optically-induced superconductivity in the alkali-doped fulleride K3C60under high external pressures. This study allowed, on one hand, to uniquely assess the nature of the transient state as a superconducting phase. In addition, it unveiled the possibility to induce superconductivity in K3C60 at temperatures far above the -170 degrees Celsius hypothesized previously, and rather all the way to room temperature. The paper by Cantaluppi et al has been published in Nature Physics.

Unlike ordinary metals, superconductors have the unique capability of transporting electrical currents without any loss. Nowadays, their technological...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supersonic waves may help electronics beat the heat

18.05.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Keeping a Close Eye on Ice Loss

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

CrowdWater: An App for Flood Research

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>