Anyone who has ever developed urinary tract infections ( UTIs) knows that they can be painful, pesky and persistent. UTIs have a high recurrence rate and primarily afflicts women. As many as 50% of women and 3% of men will experience at least one UTIs during their lifetime.
However, what if a patient could take a vaccine that would prevent UTIs?. In the proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences, a new vaccination strategy that they think could re-program the body to fight off the bacteria that caused urinary tract infections was announced.
“Although several vaccines against UTIs have been investigated in clinical trials, they have so far had limited success,” said Soman Abraham, Ph.D. Grace kerby Distinguished professor of pathology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics and Microbiology in the school of medicine.
“There is currently no effective UTIs vaccine available for us in spite of the high prevalence of bladder infections,” Abraham said, Our study describes the potential for a highly effective bladder vaccine that can not only eradicate residual bladder bacteria but also prevent future infections.
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The strategy which the team showed to be effective in mouse models involves re-programming an inadequate immune response that the team identified last year, they observed that when mouse bladders get infected with E.coli bacteria the immune system dispatched repair cells to heal the damaged tissue which launched very few warriors cells to fight off the attackers. This causes bacteria to never fully clear living in the bladder on and in the bladder to attack again according to the study author Jianxuan wo, Ph. D, who recently earned his doctorate from the department of immunology at Duke.
The new vaccine strategy attempts to “teach” the bladder to more effectively fight off the attacking bacteria, by administering the vaccine directly into the bladder where the residual bacteria harbour. The highly effective vaccine antigen in combination with an adjuvant known to boost the recruitment of bacterial clearing cells performed better than traditional intramuscular vaccination.
It was reported that bladder immunised effectively fought off infecting E.coli and eliminated all residual bladder bacteria. Suggesting the site of administration could be an important consideration in determining the effectiveness of a vaccine.
Abraham said, “we are encouraged by these findings and since the individual components of the vaccine have previously been shown to be safe for human use, undertaking clinical studies to validate these findings could be done relatively quickly”.
By: Peace Chigozie