Researchers discover new vaccine candidate for Pseudomonas aeruginosa

July 6, 2012

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 .

Explore further: Researchers develop a vaccine prototype stronger than traditional vaccines

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Lab grown human colons change study of GI disease

June 22, 2017

Scientists used human pluripotent stem cells to generate human embryonic colons in a laboratory that function much like natural human tissues when transplanted into mice, according to research published June 22 in Cell Stem ...

Paracetamol during pregnancy can inhibit masculinity

June 22, 2017

Paracetamol is popular for relieving pain. But if you are pregnant, you should think twice before popping these pills according to the researchers in a new study. In an animal model, Paracetamol, which is the pain-relieving ...

Human tissue model developed to test colon cancer drugs

June 20, 2017

The first-ever "disease in a Petri dish" platform that models human colon cancer derived from stem cells has been developed by Weill Cornell Medicine investigators, allowing them to identify a targeted drug treatment for ...

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.