Although vaccines exist to protect against some strains of meningitis, there is still no vaccine to protect against all strains, including the most common in the UK — Group B meningococci. This is responsible for almost 90 per cent of all cases and is most common in children under the age of five.
The team, led by Dr Karl Wooldridge, a lecturer in the Centre for Biomolecular Sciences, aim to develop a vaccine against this strain of the bacterium. Group B meningococci mimic molecules in the human body, which makes developing an effective vaccine against this strain very difficult.
Researchers worldwide are searching for alternative antigens — molecules that can stimulate an immune response — on the surface of the bacteria, which could be used as a basis for a vaccine against meningitis B.
The team has identified a series of autotransporter proteins — proteins which are secreted from the surface of Group B meningococci — which could be used to create antibodies that will then kill the bacteria.
The grant will be used to fund a two-year research post, examining each of the proteins produced by the bacteria for the potential to create effective antibodies. The genetic code for each protein will be cloned and tagged, allowing the protein to be produced in large amounts and purified for further study.
“If we identify one or more of these proteins that give a good protective response we would ultimately move to human trials,” said Dr Wooldridge. “This would hopefully demonstrate a positive immune response to the vaccine. By identifying a range of active proteins, rather than just one, we could develop a vaccine that targeted all strains of the Group B meningococci.”
Meningitis UK launched its Search 4 a Vaccine Campaign in 2007 to help raise £7million over the next seven years to fund vital work into developing a vaccine against Group B. This innovative project is just one of the studies the charity is funding.
Meningitis UK’s Chief Executive Steve Dayman said: “We are extremely pleased to be funding Dr Karl Wooldridge and his team in their work to discover more about the proteins secreted by the Meningitis B bacteria. If this research can go forward to help develop a vaccine, thousands of lives could be saved.
“Meningitis can be incredibly hard to detect as many of its symptoms are often similar to more minor ailments such as the common cold or flu, plus there are occasions when people show no, or very few, symptoms. For these reasons, we believe the only way to eradicate meningitis completely is through the development of a preventative vaccine.”
Emma Thorne | alfa
Discovery shows promise for treating Huntington's Disease
05.08.2020 | Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
Carbon monoxide improves endurance performance
05.08.2020 | Universität Bayreuth
Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT have come up with a striking new addition to contact stamping technologies in the ERDF research project ScanCut. In collaboration with industry partners from North Rhine-Westphalia, the Aachen-based team of researchers developed a hybrid manufacturing process for the laser cutting of thin-walled metal strips. This new process makes it possible to fabricate even the tiniest details of contact parts in an eco-friendly, high-precision and efficient manner.
Plug connectors are tiny and, at first glance, unremarkable – yet modern vehicles would be unable to function without them. Several thousand plug connectors...
An international research team has found a new approach that may be able to reduce bone loss in osteoporosis and maintain bone health.
Osteoporosis is the most common age-related bone disease which affects hundreds of millions of individuals worldwide. It is estimated that one in three women...
Traditional single-cell sequencing methods help to reveal insights about cellular differences and functions - but they do this with static snapshots only...
“Core-shell” clusters pave the way for new efficient nanomaterials that make catalysts, magnetic and laser sensors or measuring devices for detecting electromagnetic radiation more efficient.
Whether in innovative high-tech materials, more powerful computer chips, pharmaceuticals or in the field of renewable energies, nanoparticles – smallest...
An international research team with Prof. Cornelia Denz from the Institute of Applied Physics at the University of Münster develop for the first time light fields using caustics that do not change during propagation. With the new method, the physicists cleverly exploit light structures that can be seen in rainbows or when light is transmitted through drinking glasses.
Modern applications as high resolution microsopy or micro- or nanoscale material processing require customized laser beams that do not change during...
23.07.2020 | Event News
21.07.2020 | Event News
07.07.2020 | Event News
06.08.2020 | Earth Sciences
06.08.2020 | Power and Electrical Engineering
06.08.2020 | Life Sciences