August 20, 2010
Staph Vaccine In The Works
The staph infections' job is to cause a multitude of diseases that result in infection of tissue. But staph infections may not be on staff for much longer.
Two recent studies may offer a new approach to vaccines that could fire away at the leading cause of skin and soft tissue, bloodstream and lung infections in the United States.
The first approach demonstrates a way to offset the bacteria's knack for evading the immune system while the subsequent shows how to disrupt the germ's tissue-damaging mechanism.
This combination may protect against Staphylococcus aureus -- more commonly referred to as MRSA -- which has become the leading cause of death in infectious disease in the United States.
Development for a staph vaccine has been a priority for the medical profession since the 1960's. But with countless failed attempts at creating a vaccine, the pharmaceutical industry has veered away from the research. In the last 10 years, MRSA has increased its ability to resist antibiotics which moves research for a vaccine back to center stage.
"Staph aureus is the world champion of immune suppression," Olaf Schneewind, PdD, professor and chair of microbiology at the university of Chicago, was quoted as saying. "Even when the infection can be cleared with antibiotic and surgery, the patient has no immunity, so these infections often recur," Schneewind added.
An effective vaccine requires proteins key to the disease process and exposed on the cell surface. One, referred to as Protein A, binds to receptors on white blood cells that produce antibodies.
"I believe that Protein A may be the key to making a staphylococcal vaccine," Schneewind said.
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