Monday, 21 May 2012

Vaccination Protects Mice Against Systemic Aspergillosis

The development of a vaccine for aspergillosis has been a dream for some time in our efforts to protect those vulnerable to invasive aspergillosis. We have mentioned this several times over the last year or so:



These studies offer some evidence to suggest that a vaccine will be of use to people with a limited immune system so should be of benefit to people undergoing some type of treatment to cancer as well as other transplant patients.

 In another initial step a group led by Dr David Stevens has demonstrated that a vaccine made from fungal cell wall components (mannans) is very effective in mice at reducing mortality and fungal burden. This is particularly interesting as they have refined the technique by linking it to other proteins to make it much more active (40x more) compared with using mannan alone.

Mannan is a component of fungal cell walls and has no equivalent in mammalian cells, therefore a vaccine should help protect treated people against all fungi not just Aspergillus, and should have minimal potential for toxicity.

This study must now be repeated in humans and if successful and we see similar results then an effective vaccine could well be on its way to act as a prophylactic for people undergoing  therapy that involves making them more vulnerable to infection, and in time perhaps even people we may be able to start identifying as vulnerable using personal genome screening.

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