Dr. Neil A. Williams of the University of Bristol in Britain and colleagues are working on a vaccine made from a protein found in an E. coli bacteria strain that trains the immune system to stop auto-immune responses.
In a study of a strain of mice that naturally develop diabetes, the vaccine, which is being developed with the backing of British biotech company Hunter-Fleming Ltd, reduced the occurrence of the illness from 80 to 15 percent.
Auto-immune responses play a role in rheumatoid arthritis, type I diabetes, multiple sclerosis, allergies, asthma, and a number of other disorders.
The Escherichia coli bacteria's Enterotoxin B Subunit which makes up this vaccine is known as ETxB.
The team is using just a transport component of the bacterium's toxin molecule. Called ETxB, the component is separated off from the rest of the protein so there is no chance of a vaccine causing stomach upsets in patients.
The vaccine reduced the incidence of type 1 diabetes in mice strains prone to the disease from 80 per cent to 15 per cent. Arthritic mice show similar benefits. Williams is now collaborating with the pharmaceutical company Hunter Fleming to conduct the first human trials, which should begin in six months.
A model of how ETxB stops auto-immune response is available here.
This is pretty special. If a single vaccine could eliminate or even just substantially reduce the frequency of a wide range of auto-immune disorders the benefits would enormous.
|Share |||Randall Parker, 2003 September 22 01:09 AM Biotech Therapies|