Development of a vaccine to prevent stomach cancer using genetically modified bacterial membrane vesicles

Research area

 |  cancer, vaccine


 |  cancer, extracellular vesicles, genetic engineering, infection, innate immunity, outer membrane vesicles, vaccine


 |  PhD/Doctorate, Honours, Masters

Contact supervisors at any time

Professor Richard Ferrero

Project description

It is estimated that half of the world’s population have Helicobacter pylori infection. This bacterium lives in the stomach where it causes inflammation of the mucosa. Most individuals, however, do not know that they are infected. As a consequence, stomach cancer is often diagnosed once the disease is already advanced. Although antibiotic therapies are available to eliminate H. pylori infection, these are not always effective. Therefore, new approaches are needed to better manage the infection and associated disease. It was suggested that a vaccine against H. pylori infection would be the most cost-effective means of preventing stomach cancer. Although vaccine trials in animals reported promising results, subsequent findings from clinical studies have generally been disappointing. The proposed project is directed at developing an entirely new type of H. pylori vaccine based on membrane vesicles (MVs) that bud off growing bacteria. These nano-sized particles are non-infectious, non-replicative and contain many components of the live bacteria from which they originate.

This project will involve a variety of techniques, such as cell culture, mouse models, proteomics, molecular biology, bacterial mutagenesis, fluorescence imaging, flow cytometry, cytokine ELISA and qPCR.