Researchers discover new vaccine candidate for Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) have discovered a new vaccine candidate for the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa taking advantage of a new mechanism of immunity.

The study was published online in the on June 21, 2012.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a leading cause of hospital-acquired infections, particularly in patients on respirators, where it can cause so-called ventilator-associated pneumonia, which carries a very high mortality rate. Pseudomonas also causes lung infections in people with cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder that renders the lungs susceptible to bacterial infection.

Despite more than 40 years of vaccine research and development, there is no clinically available vaccine for this bacterium. Most prior vaccine efforts have focused on generating antibodies to Pseudomonas toxins or , especially the sugar coating on the bug called the lipopolysaccharide O antigen. These approaches have not yielded a licensed vaccine for humans.

Gregory Priebe, MD, BWH Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, and Boston Children's Hospital Division of , Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, along with researchers from Harvard Medical School, constructed a vaccine based on a new mechanism of immunity to Pseudomonas mediated by T helper 17 (Th17) cells. Th17 cells are a recently described type of helper that secrete the cytokine IL-17 and enhance antibacterial mucosal defenses.

In the current studies, the investigators designed a screen for Th17-stimulating protein antigens expressed by a molecular library of DNA encoding Pseudomonas proteins. The screen discovered that the Pseudomonas protein PopB is a very effective stimulator of Th17 immunity, and immunization with purified PopB protected mice from lethal pneumonia in an antibody-independent fashion.

The researchers are currently taking their work a step further by constructing conjugate vaccines using PopB as a protein carrier with the hopes of improving the effectiveness of the vaccine. They hope that the PopB-based vaccine might one day be used to prevent Pseudomonas infections in hospitalized patients and in people with .

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New pneumococcal vaccine approach successful in early tests

Feb 16, 2011

Pneumococcus (Streptococcus pneumoniae) accounts for as much as 11 percent of mortality in young children worldwide. While successful vaccines like Prevnar® exist, they are expensive and only work against specific pneumo ...

New insights could lead to a better pneumococcal vaccine

Sep 22, 2008

Discovery of a new, previously unknown mechanism of immunity suggests that there may be a better way to protect vulnerable children and adults against Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcal) infection, say researchers at ...

Recommended for you

Growing a blood vessel in a week

Oct 24, 2014

The technology for creating new tissues from stem cells has taken a giant leap forward. Three tablespoons of blood are all that is needed to grow a brand new blood vessel in just seven days. This is shown ...

Testing time for stem cells

Oct 24, 2014

DefiniGEN is one of the first commercial opportunities to arise from Cambridge's expertise in stem cell research. Here, we look at some of the fundamental research that enables it to supply liver and pancreatic ...

Team finds key signaling pathway in cause of preeclampsia

Oct 23, 2014

A team of researchers led by a Wayne State University School of Medicine associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology has published findings that provide novel insight into the cause of preeclampsia, the leading cause ...

Rapid test to diagnose severe sepsis

Oct 23, 2014

A new test, developed by University of British Columbia researchers, could help physicians predict within an hour if a patient will develop severe sepsis so they can begin treatment immediately.

User comments