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A cooperation agreement to initiate the development of a new type of preventive DNA subunit vaccine against tuberculosis (TB) has been signed by the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology (MPI-IB) and MOLOGEN AG in Berlin. Subunit vaccines are composed of defined molecular immunogenic modules. Under its director Prof. Dr. Stefan H. E. Kaufmann, the Department of Immunology at the MPI-IB is studying the mechanisms of host - pathogen interactions and develops novel vaccination strategies; it is amongst the leading groups in Tuberculosis immunology research world wide. MOLOGEN focuses on proprietary DNA technologies to develop treatments for non- or inadequately treatable diseases.
With more than 2 million deaths and 9 million new infections annually, TB, along with malaria and HIV/AIDS, is responsible for the greatest number of infectious disease victims world wide. Of particular concern is the increasing number of pathogens resistant to conventional medication. The World Health Organisation estimates that some 50 million people around the globe are already infected with such multi-resistant strains. As the current TB vaccine BCG fails to protect against the most common form of the disease, pulmonary TB in adults, the need for an efficacious tuberculosis vaccine is more urgent than ever.
"The only prevention of TB is the viable BCG vaccine (Bacillus-Calmette-Guérin), which has been in use since 1921," says MPI-IB director Prof. Stefan H.E. Kaufmann. "BCG has a proven safety record for many decades, however, it unfortunately lacks effectiveness," notes Kaufmann, adding that only children can be protected against certain forms of TB by BCG. "however, BCG does not protect against pulmonary TB in adults at all. We assume the protection provided by BCG to be so limited because BCG bacteria fail to induce the compl
Contact: Dr. Sabine Englich