University researchers develop novel strategy for tuberculosis vaccine 

Researchers at Purdue University and Houston Methodist Research Institute have created a novel strategy for developing an effective vaccine for a widespread form of tuberculosis. 

Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) is a leading cause of death worldwide, leading to over 1.5 million fatalities annually. Approximately one-third of the global population is infected with the latent form of Mtb. Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) is widely used as a vaccine against tuberculosis but has a variable protection against neonatal and adult pulmonary TB. That protection can, however, range from zero to 80% among infants. Children are routinely vaccinated, yet Mtb dissemination into brain and tuberculosis meningitis continues to occur. 

Researchers have created this novel TB vaccine formulation by incorporating autophagy-mediated antigen presentation, which initiates an enhanced T cell response. Chinnaswamy Jagannath, Professor of Pathology and Genomic Medicine at the Houston Methodist Research Institute, which is an affiliate of Weill Cornell Medical College, showed that the novel formulation improves the development of tuberculosis-specific immune responses. Jagannath collaborates with Dr Suresh Mittal, Distinguished Professor of Virology in Purdue’s College of Veterinary Medicine. 

Mittal’s lab studies delivery platforms for vaccines, and Jagannath’s lab used the nasal delivery route for this TB vaccine development. “The great thing about this work with TB is that it can translate to other infectious diseases and possibly cancer immunotherapy,” Mittal said. 

A manuscript describing this work is published in the August 2021 issue of Cell Reports Medicine. This research was conducted with research awards from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and Internal Funds. 

Suresh Mittal, Distinguished Professor of Virology in Purdue University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, conducts research on a novel vaccine against a widespread form of tuberculosis. Mittal collaborates with Chinnaswamy Jagannath, professor of pathology and genomic medicine at Houston Methodist Research Institute, to create the vaccine.

Image credit: Suresh Mittal | National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

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