Overpowering helminth-mediated immune-modulation is a route towards vaccine development against these major animal pathogens
Date du début: 1 juin 2013,
Date de fin: 31 mai 2018
"Helminth (worm) pathogens cause >55% of all animal diseases which result in enormous losses to the global agricultural economy. Since the use of chemical products to treat worms is not sustainable in the long term because of the continual emergence of drug-resistant parasites and consumer concerns about what they eat, control by vaccines is the most appropriate way forward. However, there are presently no vaccines for any animal or human helminth pathogen.We hypothesise that the ability of helminth parasites to suppress the protective arm of the immune response explains why we have been unsuccessful in developing efficacious vaccines against these pathogens. During helminth infection the function of innate immune cells, dendritic cells (DCs) and macrophages, is manipulated by the parasite to create a T helper (Th) cell 2-driven immune response that is beneficial to its survival, while simultaneously suppressing the immunoprotective Th1-driven response. This helminth-induced immune modulation is induced by the secretion of specific parasite immunomodulatory molecules.Focusing on the helminth that causes animal and human fascioliasis (liver fluke disease), we will ‘turn-the-table’ on this parasite by targeting its immunomodulatory mechanisms and develop vaccine formulations that induce potent protective Th1-inducing humoral and cellular immune responses.The project involves both innovative and discovery approaches in the search for novel helminth immunomodulatory molecules, and a translational element that will bring these findings into a useful veterinary medicine application for the end-users, farmers and consumers. The breakthrough of this project, therefore, will not only be the development of a vaccine against liver fluke disease, but also the opening of a new route towards the control of many other major helminth pathogens of both animals and humans."
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