Next-generation vaccines—eliminating the use of needles

October 23, 2012

Lead scientist Professor Simon Cutting, from the School of Biological Sciences at Royal Holloway, has developed the jabs through the use of probiotic spores. He carried out fundamental studies into the biology of the bacterium Bacillus subtilis which attracted the attention of microbiologists due to its ability to form spores that can last millions of years before germinating under the appropriate environmental conditions.

Professor Cutting says: "The mechanisms by which this process occurs have fascinated microbiologists for decades making it one of the most intensively studied bacteria. Its simple life cycle and ease of use make it an ideal laboratory subject."

Professor Cutting discovered that the Bacillus spores act as ideal vehicles to carry antigens and promote an immune response. He explains: "Rather than requiring needle delivery, vaccines based on Bacillus spores can be delivered via a , or as on oral liquid or capsule. Alternatively they can be administered via a small soluble film placed under the tongue, in a similar way to modern breath freshners. As spores are exceptionally stable, vaccines based on Bacillus do not require cold-chain storage alleviating a further issue with current vaccine approaches."

As well as eliminating the pain associated with needles, oral vaccines provide greater benefits including being safer to administer, especially in developing countries where HIV is rife, being inexpensive to produce and easier to store and reducing concerns of adverse reactions.

Professor Cutting has carried out pre- of Bacillus-based vaccines for a number of diseases including Tuberculosis, influenza and tetanus but most recently he has been investigating the potential for use of the vaccines against a disease of particular relevance to the West - difficile

"C. difficile, is a gastrointenstinal infection that is commonly picked up following hospital stays and causes around 50,000 infections and 4,000 deaths per year in the UK, mostly in elderly patients. Currently, there is no vaccine against the disease, and although several approaches are currently undergoing clinical trials, none are expected to provide full protection, and new solutions are urgently needed," says Professor Cutting.

He adds: "Bacillus based vaccines offer distinct advantages as unlike other approaches, oral delivery can cause a more specific in the gastrointenstinal tract to fully eliminate C.difficile."

Professor Cutting has recently received private seed investment to form a company, Holloway Immunology, to develop the bacillus vaccine technology and concentrate on three lead vaccines for Tuberculosis, C. difficile infection and influenza (flu). The company is currently looking for investors to help fast track the implementation of these jabs and contribute to the transformation of vaccine delivery around the globe.

Explore further: Better vaccines for tuberculosis could save millions of lives

Related Stories

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 ...

Anthrax capsule vaccine protects monkeys from lethal infection

January 12, 2012
a naturally occurring component of the bacterium that causes the disease—protected monkeys from lethal anthrax infection, according to U.S. Army scientists. The study, which appears in the Jan. 20th print edition of ...

Recommended for you

Study suggests ending opioid epidemic will take years

July 20, 2017
The question of how to stem the nation's opioid epidemic now has a major detailed response. A new study chaired by University of Virginia School of Law Professor Richard Bonnie provides extensive recommendations for curbing ...

Team-based model reduces prescription opioid use among patients with chronic pain by 40 percent

July 17, 2017
A new, team-based, primary care model is decreasing prescription opioid use among patients with chronic pain by 40 percent, according to a new study out of Boston Medical Center's Grayken Center for Addiction Medicine, which ...

Private clinics' peddling of unproven stem cell treatments is unsafe and unethical

July 7, 2017
Stem cell science is an area of medical research that continues to offer great promise. But as this week's paper in Science Translational Medicine highlights, a growing number of clinics around the globe, including in Australia, ...

Popular heartburn drugs linked to higher death risk

July 4, 2017
Popular heartburn drugs called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) have been linked to a variety of health problems, including serious kidney damage, bone fractures and dementia. Now, a new study from Washington University School ...

Most reproductive-age women using opioids also use another substance

June 30, 2017
The majority of reproductive-age and pregnant women who use opioids for non-medical purposes also use at least one other substance, ranging from nicotine or alcohol to cocaine, according to a University of Pittsburgh Graduate ...

At-risk chronic pain patients taper opioids successfully with psychological tools

June 28, 2017
Psychological support and new coping skills are helping patients at high risk of developing chronic pain and long-term, high-dose opioid use taper their opioids and rebuild their lives with activities that are meaningful ...

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.