Good bacteria can be vehicle for oral vaccine against anthrax

February 17th, 2009 - 6:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Feb 17 (IANS) The presence of good bacteria in dairy products might also be an effective vehicle for oral vaccine that can provide immunity to anthrax exposure, according to a new study.
The good bacteria - Lactobacillus acidophilus, a lactic acid bacteria - are naturally found in milk and cheese. They are used in food fermentations, are safe for consumption and contribute to our general health and well being.

The approach could possibly be used to deliver any number of specific vaccines that could block other types of viruses and pathogens.

The oral vaccine riding inside the good bacteria makes its way through the stomach and into the small intestine, an important immunological organ, where it easily and efficiently binds to cells that trigger an immune response - in this case, protection against anthrax in mice.

The finding shows that an oral vaccine can be as effective as one given by needle, a potentially huge advance in drug delivery. Most vaccines are proteins, and as such normally won’t maintain their effectiveness after being digested in the stomach.

Todd Klaenhammer, William Neal Reynolds, both professors and Tri Duong from functional genomics programme at North Carolina State University (NCSU) and colleagues from US Army Medical Research Institute show that lactic acid bacteria can deliver anthrax vaccine through the stomach and release it into the small intestine.

There, the vaccine targets the first line of immune cells, dendritic cells, that can trigger the mucosal immune system to respond and elicit protection against anthrax, said an NCSU release.

These findings were published in the current online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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