Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Battle against plague and bacterial pneumonias: Researchers identify new component that can be used as a vaccine

Date:
June 27, 2011
Source:
Trudeau Institute
Summary:
Researchers have now identified a single component of the plague causing bacterium that can be used as a vaccine. This single "subunit" could potentially be used to create a safer form of a T cell-stimulating plague vaccine.

Researchers from the Smiley lab at the Trudeau Institute have now identified a single component of the plague causing bacterium that can be used as a vaccine. This single "subunit" could potentially be used to create a safer form of a T cell-stimulating plague vaccine.

Related Articles


The new finding is featured in the July issue of The Journal of Immunology.

"To date, there has been little progress in the development of safe and effective vaccines for plague or similar bioweapons," said Dr. Stephen Smiley, a leading plague researcher and Trudeau Institute faculty member. "Our data identifies a single component of the plague causing bacterium seen by T cells. This could be a key discovery as we seek to develop a plague vaccine."

The lab envisions that this subunit might be added to others already being studied for their ability to induce antibody responses. Together, these multiple subunits might safely induce both antibody and T cell responses, thereby better combating plague.

According to Dr. Smiley, there is no licensed plague vaccine in the United States. Together with postdoctoral associate Jr-Shiuan Lin, he is working to develop a vaccine that will protect members of the armed services and public from a "plague bomb."

Plague is caused by Yersinia pestis, arguably the most deadly bacteria known to man. Yersinia pestis infections of the lung, known as pneumonic plague, are extremely lethal and usually lead to death within a week of infection.

This could be a major discovery in the ongoing battle between scientists working to develop a vaccine to protect against plague and the terrorists who seek to use plague as a weapon. Many of the highest priority bio-terror concerns are caused by bacteria that acutely infect the lung. These include anthrax, tularemia and plague.

Most of the plague vaccine candidates that have been studied aim to stimulate B cells to produce plague-fighting antibodies. However, animal studies suggest that antibodies may not be enough to protect humans from pneumonic plague. The Smiley laboratory has shown that T cells can also fight plague. The lab previously demonstrated that an immunization with an experimental vaccine stimulates the production of T cells that provide partial protection against pneumonic plague. This vaccine consisted of a live but weakened version of the plague causing bacterium.

Live vaccines are often effective, but they can be difficult to license because they have the potential to grow within immunocompromised recipients and inadvertently cause disease.

Additionally, Dr. Smiley believes these studies may help us learn to combat other kinds of pneumonia: "Bacterial pneumonia is one of the most common causes of death in hospitals and, like plague, many of these pneumonias are caused by bacteria that we may need to combat with both antibodies and T cells."

Dr. Smiley's studies are funded by the Trudeau Institute and grants from the National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Trudeau Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J.-S. Lin, F. M. Szaba, L. W. Kummer, B. A. Chromy, S. T. Smiley. Yersinia pestis YopE Contains a Dominant CD8 T Cell Epitope that Confers Protection in a Mouse Model of Pneumonic Plague. The Journal of Immunology, 2011; DOI: 10.4049/jimmunol.1100174

Cite This Page:

Trudeau Institute. "Battle against plague and bacterial pneumonias: Researchers identify new component that can be used as a vaccine." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110627122943.htm>.
Trudeau Institute. (2011, June 27). Battle against plague and bacterial pneumonias: Researchers identify new component that can be used as a vaccine. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110627122943.htm
Trudeau Institute. "Battle against plague and bacterial pneumonias: Researchers identify new component that can be used as a vaccine." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110627122943.htm (accessed November 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Paralyzed Marine Walks With Robotic Braces

Raw: Paralyzed Marine Walks With Robotic Braces

AP (Nov. 21, 2014) Marine Corps officials say a special operations officer left paralyzed by a sniper's bullet in Afghanistan walked using robotic leg braces in a ceremony to award him a Bronze Star. (Nov. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins