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 The genes are not to blame
20.07.2018 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Targeting headaches and tumors with nano-submarines
20.07.2018 | Universitätsmedizin der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

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: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes

20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers

20.07.2018 | Information Technology

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>