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Scientists Develop Fungus-fighting Vaccine

Date:
September 5, 2005
Source:
Journal of Experimental Medicine
Summary:
A group of scientists in Italy have developed a vaccine with the potential to protect against fungal pathogens that commonly infect humans, according to a study by Torosantucci and colleagues in the September 5 issue of The Journal of Experimental Medicine. Although these fungi pose little threat to people with healthy immune systems, they can cause fatal infections in those whose immune systems have been weakened by cancer treatments or post-transplant immunosuppressive therapies.

Although these fungi pose little threat to people with healthy immunesystems, they can cause fatal infections in those whose immune systemshave been weakened by cancer treatments or post-transplantimmunosuppressive therapies. No anti-fungal vaccines are currentlyavailable.

The new vaccine was made of a sugar-like molecule called beta-glucanthat is found on the cell wall of the fungus and that the fungus needsto grow and survive. To induce a robust immune response to the vaccine,the group attached the relatively innocuous beta-glucan to a proteincalled diptheria toxin that is known to stimulate the immune system andhas been used in other human vaccines.

The vaccine protected rodents from fatal fungal infections bytriggering the production of anti-beta-glucan antibodies. Theseantibodies stuck to the invading fungal cell wall and prevented thefungus from growing. The authors now plan to test the vaccine in humansand hope the results are equally promising.


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The above story is based on materials provided by Journal of Experimental Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Journal of Experimental Medicine. "Scientists Develop Fungus-fighting Vaccine." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 September 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050905112231.htm>.
Journal of Experimental Medicine. (2005, September 5). Scientists Develop Fungus-fighting Vaccine. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050905112231.htm
Journal of Experimental Medicine. "Scientists Develop Fungus-fighting Vaccine." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050905112231.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

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