New Otago collaboration brings oral TB vaccine for humans closer

September 26, 2012

Researchers in New Zealand are inching closer to the development of the first effective oral vaccine to protect against tuberculosis - a disease which still kills more people worldwide than any other bacterial disease.

A new study, led by Dr Joanna Kirman from the University of Otago's Department of Microbiology, has found that in mice, an innovative oral vaccination formula can induce stronger and longer-lasting immune response compared to the current needle vaccination against TB.

In New Zealand there are about 600 notifications of the disease each year, with 300 new cases diagnosed.

For an to work, the bacteria need to be alive. This problem is overcome with the development by Dr Frank Aldwell and colleagues from University of Otago-based Immune Solutions Ltd of a lipid formulation called LiporaleTM,  , a formula that coats the BCG bacteria, allowing them to survive the of the stomach.

Dr Kirman and colleagues Dr Aldwell, the Malaghan Institute's Fenella Rich , and University of Otago PhD student Lindsay Ancelet, compared the immune response in the spleen and lungs of mice vaccinated with the new formulation, LiporaleTM-BCG, to the response from the traditional injected vaccination.

"LiporaleTM-BCG vaccination induced a long-lived immune response, evident by the detection of increased numbers of tuberculosis-specific in the lungs and up to 30 weeks after vaccination," Dr Kirman says.

"These results demonstrate that orally delivered LiporaleTM-BCG vaccine induces a long-lived multi-functional immune response, and could therefore represent a practical and effective means of delivering new BCG-based TB vaccines."

These promising results are published today in the peer-reviewed open access international journal,

Dr Kirman says the oral vaccine, potentially delivered as a syrup or pill, would be easier to administer. Most importantly, it targets the mucosal immune system - a network of the gut and where the immune response is regulated differently from the systemic response triggered by injected vaccines.

TB causes more deaths worldwide than any other .  Latest estimates from the World Health Organisation show that in 2010, 8.8 million people became ill with TB and 1.4 million people died, mostly in developing countries including Africa, South-East Asia, Eastern Europe and the Western Pacific.

Dr Kirman says antibiotic resistance to tuberculosis is also increasing.

"In 2010 New Zealand had its first case of extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR) which is incredibly difficult, and sometimes impossible, to treat.  That is why we think prevention through vaccination is so important."

Dr Kirman says the researchers are hoping the vaccine will attract more Health Research Council funding to further understand this and to undertake the necessary safety tests. In addition, the not-for-profit product development organization, AERAS, dedicated to the development of effective tuberculosis vaccines in the US, has undertaken to conduct further tests on the vaccine.

Explore further: Trials begin for 'essential' new TB vaccine

Related Stories

Trials begin for 'essential' new TB vaccine

July 30, 2007

Clinical trials are underway with the first new vaccine against TB in over 80 years. If successful, the tests will have major implications for TB control and could lead to the development of a new vaccine ready to use within ...

Scientists find candidate for new TB vaccine

March 18, 2011

Scientists have discovered a protein secreted by tuberculosis (TB) bacteria that could be a promising new vaccine candidate, they report today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The protein could also be ...

Better vaccines for tuberculosis could save millions of lives

August 28, 2012

Cases of one of the world's deadliest diseases—tuberculosis—are rising at an alarming rate, despite widespread vaccination. Reasons for the ineffectiveness of the vaccine, especially in regions where this infectious disease ...

Recommended for you

Team discovers how Zika virus causes fetal brain damage

August 24, 2016

Infection by the Zika virus diverts a key protein necessary for neural cell division in the developing human fetus, thereby causing the birth defect microcephaly, a team of Yale scientists reported Aug. 24 in the journal ...

Zika infection may affect adult brain cells

August 18, 2016

Concerns over the Zika virus have focused on pregnant women due to mounting evidence that it causes brain abnormalities in developing fetuses. However, new research in mice from scientists at The Rockefeller University and ...

Immune breakthrough: Unscratching poison ivy's rash

August 23, 2016

We all know that a brush with poison ivy leaves us with an itchy painful rash. Now, Monash University and Harvard researchers have discovered the molecular cause of this irritation. The finding brings us a step closer to ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.