UCSD researcher receives grant to develop tuberculosis vaccine

December 13, 2000

Richard S. Kornbluth, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of medicine in the UCSD School of Medicine and Veterans Affairs Medical Center, is one of nine researchers worldwide to receive one of the first-ever Sequella Global Tuberculosis Foundation grants for the development of tuberculosis vaccines.

In studies with mice, Kornbluth will use his $50,000 grant to study a novel method developed at UCSD to stimulate the immune system for better control of tuberculosis microbes in the body.

The nine vaccine-development awards announced today were made possible by a five-year $25 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to the Sequella Foundation's Tuberculosis International Vaccine Collaboration. The Gates Foundation notes that vaccines are the foundation of infectious disease control and represent the best hope of improving the health and well-being of the world's poorest children.

Tuberculosis is a world health problem of awe-inspiring proportions. Every second, someone in the world is newly infected with TB. Overall, about one-third of the world's population - nearly 2 billion people - are infected with TB, and some 2 to 3 million die each year.

People infected with TB will not necessarily get sick with the disease. In most people exposed to mycobacterium tuberculosis, the agent that causes TB, the immune system "walls off" the TB bacteria in the lung. The disease can remain dormant for years until the individual's immune system is weakened, by old age or cancer treatments, or HIV infection, and then the chances of getting full-blown TB are considerably greater.

In his research, Kornbluth will focus on treatment for this latent form of TB, in hopes of stopping it from becoming the deadly version. Kornbluth and his team will infect normal mice with a low dose of TB to create the latent form of the disease. They will then attempt to stimulate the mouse immune system with a synthetic form of DNA nucleotides call immunostimulatory sequences (ISS), which mimic the properties of bacterial DNA, such as that in TB. ISS was developed by researcher Eyal Raz, M.D., of the UCSD Stein Institute for Research on Aging, who found that ISS when applied to cell cultures or delivered into animals controlled the growth of TB microbes. Kornbluth will investigate ISS in mice along with a protein called CD40 ligand, which has been found in previous rodent studies to play a key role in fighting infection and disease.

Kornbluth's previous studies have been supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and the UCSD Center for AIDS Research. In addition to Kornbluth, recipients of the Sequella Global Tuberculosis Foundation grants include researchers in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Canada, Korea, North Carolina and New York.

University of California - San Diego

Related Immune System Articles from Brightsurf:

How the immune system remembers viruses
For a person to acquire immunity to a disease, T cells must develop into memory cells after contact with the pathogen.

How does the immune system develop in the first days of life?
Researchers highlight the anti-inflammatory response taking place after birth and designed to shield the newborn from infection.

Memory training for the immune system
The immune system will memorize the pathogen after an infection and can therefore react promptly after reinfection with the same pathogen.

Immune system may have another job -- combatting depression
An inflammatory autoimmune response within the central nervous system similar to one linked to neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS) has also been found in the spinal fluid of healthy people, according to a new Yale-led study comparing immune system cells in the spinal fluid of MS patients and healthy subjects.

COVID-19: Immune system derails
Contrary to what has been generally assumed so far, a severe course of COVID-19 does not solely result in a strong immune reaction - rather, the immune response is caught in a continuous loop of activation and inhibition.

Immune cell steroids help tumours suppress the immune system, offering new drug targets
Tumours found to evade the immune system by telling immune cells to produce immunosuppressive steroids.

Immune system -- Knocked off balance
Instead of protecting us, the immune system can sometimes go awry, as in the case of autoimmune diseases and allergies.

Too much salt weakens the immune system
A high-salt diet is not only bad for one's blood pressure, but also for the immune system.

Parkinson's and the immune system
Mutations in the Parkin gene are a common cause of hereditary forms of Parkinson's disease.

How an immune system regulator shifts the balance of immune cells
Researchers have provided new insight on the role of cyclic AMP (cAMP) in regulating the immune response.

Read More: Immune System News and Immune System Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.