A faster route to vaccines
Medical researchers at LMU have developed a facile method for the production of vaccines against multi-resistant bacterial strains.
Multi-resistant bacteria that are unaffected by most conventional antibiotics are recognized as an ever growing danger to global health. Hospital-acquired infections are a lethal threat to patients whose already weakened condition makes them particularly vulnerable to these so-called killer germs. A team of researchers around Dr. Andreas Wieser and Professor Sören Schubert has now developed a method which allows strain-adapted vaccines that are specific for selected types of bacteria to be manufactured in a very short time.
The method is based on genetic engineering, and begins with the isolation of the pathogens from infected individuals. The cells are then genetically modified in the laboratory, and the altered strain is grown in an appropriate culture medium. Nanometer sized vesicles containing the modified gene products as well as antigenic determinants are isolated from the bacterial cells, and this preparation is then formulated to serve as the basis for the vaccine.
The method uses conventional molecular biological techniques and vaccines can be obtained within as short as two weeks. The researchers are now looking for industrial partners who have the resources to develop the technology further and bring it onto the market.
The Bavarian Patent Alliance (Bayerische Patentallianz), which is marketing the invention, will present details of the method at the “Forum Life Science” meeting in Garching on 13. – 14. March. nh
Dr. Andreas Wieser
Medical faculty, LMU Munich
Max von Pettenkofer-Institut