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Step taken on the road towards a more effective TB vaccine

Tuberculosis kills more people than any other infection and is becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics. The results of a collaboration between researchers from Bangor University led by Professor Mark Baird and Dr Juma’a Al Dulayymi, and Southampton University, led by Dr Salah Mansour, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA could drive new advances in vaccine development for tuberculosis through the intelligent design of novel lipid based therapies.

Working with synthetic lipids developed at Bangor University’s School of Chemistry, researchers in Southampton have described new potential targets that could provide the next generation of tuberculosis vaccines.

Dr Salah Mansour from Southampton, the lead author of the study, said: “Most tuberculosis vaccine studies have focused on raising a type of protective immune cell, called T-cells, against proteins derived from the bacteria. The study showed that unique synthetic lipids related to those in the cell wall of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, are selectively targeted by T-cells; our results have a therapeutic implication for all patients”.

Dr Juma’a Al Dulayymi, School of Chemistry, Bangor University, said: ‘This is a very exciting result of a collaboration between organic chemists and immunologists which could provide a real opportunity for improved protection against TB.’

Bangor University’s School of Chemistry has the only group that has produced the synthetic lipids used in this process. 

Publication date: 21 November 2017