Published on February 29, 2012 at 3:44 AM
Before Rhizobium radiobacter can become the basis of an anti-HIV vaccine, the scientists need to find a protein to which they can attach the bacterium's sugar molecules. The protein is needed to properly trigger our immune system's development of antibodies to the sugar molecules. Such antibodies would then recognize and target HIV's sugar molecules because they resemble those on the bacterium.
This method of triggering antibodies' development has led to the invention of successful sugar-based vaccines against diseases such as meningitis and childhood pneumonia.
"Two known proteins, tetanus toxoid and CRM197, a nontoxic recombinant variant of diphtheria toxin, are commonly used to develop these kinds of vaccines," explains Pantophlet. "So a lot of the groundwork is there for us to be able to have a vaccine that could be tested in a lab first and then in clinical trials later on."
Pantophlet and his colleagues are seeking grant funding from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research to continue their research.
If they get the grant, they hope to attach Rhizobium radiobacter's sugar molecules to a protein and create vaccine candidates for testing within the next one to two years.
Source: Simon Fraser University