Identification and development of vaccine candidates for Buruli Ulcer Disease
Grant agreement number:
39 months (01/03/2010 – 31.05.2013)
Collaborative Project (Specific International Cooperation Action, SICA) (Small or medium scale focused research project).
Buruli ulcer disease (BUD), caused by Mycobacterium ulcerans, is a neglected bacterial infection of the poor in remote rural areas. BUD, the third most common mycobacterial disease in immunocompetent humans after tuberculosis and leprosy, is most endemic in West Africa, but cases have been reported from more than 30 countries worldwide.
BUD is a necrotising disease of the skin that mostly affects children, producing massive ulcers and permanent disabling scars.
Treatment is difficult and mostly requires surgery, often accompanied by skin grafting and prolonged courses of antibiotics. Treatment with antibiotics alone is possible but long-lasting, shows treatment failures and drug resistance may occur.
A vaccine against M. ulcerans would protect persons at risk in highly endemic areas and could be used as a therapeutic vaccine to shorten duration of treatment and to prevent relapses.
As currently no existing vaccine lead candidate is available, BuruliVac aims to identify and develop new vaccine candidates of 3 different types: (i) Mycolactone-directed vaccines, (ii) attenduated live vaccines, and (iii) subunit protein vaccines. Furthermore, BuruliVac will evaluate resulting vaccine candidates using bioinformatics, applied genomics and proteomics and will subject them to consecutive test systems.
Since resulting vaccines should be suitable for translation into clinical application, BuruliVac will also study the immune response and disease immunopathology to define correlates of protection. Essential pre-clinical testing in vitro and in vivo will select a small number of candidates that is amenable to be introduced into clinical studies.
Identification and development of novel vaccine candidates suitable for translation into clinical application
- Toxin- (Mycolactone-) directed vaccines
- Attenduated live vaccines
- Protein vaccines
This objective will be achieved by a multidisciplinary approach involving, among others, basic and applied research in immunology, bioinformatics, molecular genetics, tropical medicine, microbiology and clinical bacteriology.
- Identification of constituents of M. ulcerans or attenuated strains of M. ulcerans that can be used as a prophylactic or therapeutic vaccine
- Extensive capacity building in the African partner institutions (scientific work, diagnostic and clinical management)
- Identification of proteins of M. ulcerans, that can be used as a vaccine
- Generation of attenuated safe strains of M. ulcerans, that can be used as a life vaccine.