Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Vaccination on the horizon for severe viral infection of the brain

24.09.2015

Researchers from the University of Zurich and the University Hospital Zurich reveal possible new treatment methods for a rare, usually fatal brain disease. Thanks to their discovery that specific antibodies play a key role in combating the viral infection, a vaccine against the disease "progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy" could now be developed.

Humans carry a multitude of viruses and bacteria in their gut, on their skin and in other organs. Often, these are involved in important bodily functions. Under certain conditions, however, some can also cause diseases.


Infection (light zone) in the brain of multiple sclerosis patients suffering from progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML).

(Image: Neuroradiology, USZ)

The JC virus, a member of the polyoma tumor virus family, is a prime example. This pathogen was first isolated from the brain of a patient who was suffering from a rare brain disease known as progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). The virus, which more than 60 percent of the global population are infected with, normally resides in the kidneys and certain other organs. JC virus can trigger the PML infection in the brain, which, in most cases, is fatal.

Weak immune system facilitates brain infection

Two studies conducted by an international team of researchers from the University of Zurich, the University Hospital Zurich, the National Institutes of Health in the USA, San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, the University of Tübingen, and the UZH spin-off Neurimmune now reveal that the antibodies in PML patients often fail to recognize the JC virus they are infected with.

“In healthy people, the disease never breaks out as the immune system keeps it well under control. Once the immune system is compromised, however, such as in patients with tumors, leukemia, AIDS, autoimmune diseases and certain immunosuppressive treatments, the JC virus is able to alter its genetic information and infect the brain,” explains Roland Martin, professor of neurology at the University of Zurich.

In multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, for instance, the treatment with a particular antibody, TysabriTM, prevents immune cells from reaching the brain – but at the same time, also inhibits the brain’s immunosurveillance. If JC viruses enter the brain during the treatment, they go undetected, which can cause PML, the most significant side effect of the highly effective TysabriTM.

Over 560 MS patients worldwide have already developed the PML brain infection. Over 20 percent of them died from the disease as there is no effective treatment to date. Only if the immune system function is completely restored can the JC virus be removed from the brain.

Active vaccination method and therapeutic antibodies developed in Zurich

The researchers now reveal potential ways to vaccinate against PML preventatively or, if the brain has already been infected, treat it with virus-specific human antibodies. By vaccinating mice and a PML patient with the virus’ coating protein, the international groups were able to demonstrate that the antibody response was so strong that the patient was soon able to eliminate the JC virus.

The so-called active vaccination method was developed at the University of Zurich and the University Hospital Zurich, and has already been used successfully on two more patients. The JC-virus-specific antibodies that are of interest for the treatment of the existing brain infection were developed by the group at the University of Zurich and the University Hospital Zurich together with colleagues from the University of Tübingen and the biotechnology company Neurimmune in Schlieren.

“We made a major breakthrough: We managed to isolate antibody-producing cells from a patient who survived PML and use them to produce neutralizing antibodies against the JC virus. These human antibodies have a major advantage: they recognize the most important mutants of the JC virus that can cause PML. They now make promising candidates for the development of a treatment for PML,” concludes Martin.

Literature:
Ray U, Cinque P, Gerevini S, Longo V, Lazzarin A, Schippling S, Martin R, Buck CB, and Pastrana DV. JC Polyomavirus Mutants Escape Antibody-Mediated Neutralization. Science Translational Medicine, September 23, 2015. Vol. 7, Issue 306, pp. 306ra151 DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aab1720

Jelcic I, Combaluzier B Jelcic I, Faigle W, Senn L, Reinhart BJ, Ströh L, Nitsch RM, Stehle T, Sospedra M, Grimm J, Martin R. Broadly neutralizing human monoclonal JC polyomavirus VP1-specifc antibodies as candidate therapeutics for progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy. Science Translational Medicine Transl Med. September 23, 2015. Vol. 7, Issue 306, pp. 306ra150 DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aac8691

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.mediadesk.uzh.ch/articles/2015/auf-dem-weg-zu-einer-impfung-bei-schwe...

Melanie Nyfeler | Universität Zürich

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Researchers release the brakes on the immune system
18.10.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht Norovirus evades immune system by hiding out in rare gut cells
12.10.2017 | University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

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: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano

20.10.2017 | Information Technology

Strange but true: Turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>