Scientists Develop Yummy Vaccines

Mar 18, 2009
Soon vaccination will be as pleasant as eating yoghurt as scientists create a new way of administering vaccines by using probiotics.

Researchers at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine worked on the development of oral vaccine that should be swallowed rather than injected into a muscle.

Mansour Mohamadzadeh, the leading author and an associate professor of medicine in gastroenterology used probiotics to develop an immune response to anthrax in mice. During the experiment, the mice were given oral anthrax vaccine and then exposed to anthrax bacteria. The results of the study showed that as much as 80 percent of the mice developed immunity and their immune response was even stronger than with the kind of injected vaccine.

Probiotics are the beneficial bacteria that are usually present in yoghurt, fermented milk and other cultured dairy products. Using probiotics to administer vaccines has a number of advantages over injected vaccines. Probiotics are known to stimulate immune system and also make it possible to give vaccines without chemicals, which may cause different adverse reactions, such as dizziness or vomiting. Such vaccines will be also less costly.

After the vaccine is ingested, the bacteria settle down in the intestine and begin to produce the vaccine, which is immediately spread throughout the body, while pathogenic bacteria will be removed faster.

The new generation vaccine technology, using probiotics, will be tested to develop vaccines for breast cancer, colon and pancreatic cancer. Also scientists want to create such oral vaccines for HIV, hepatitis C and the flu.

The study was published in a current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.