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 Microscope measures muscle weakness
16.11.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

nachricht Good preparation is half the digestion
16.11.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Stoffwechselforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Purdue cancer identity technology makes it easier to find a tumor's 'address'

16.11.2018 | Health and Medicine

Good preparation is half the digestion

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Microscope measures muscle weakness

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>