>>     >>   Science brings malaria vaccine a step closer

Science brings malaria vaccine a step closer

Scientists have discovered a key molecule that could bring malaria vaccine a step closer


By   |  Updated On : March 20, 2017 04:36 PM
Malaria Vaccine

Malaria Vaccine

Melbourne :  

Scientists have discovered a key molecule that helps immune cells to find and kill microbes that infect the human liver, an advance that could bring malaria vaccine a step closer.

Malaria is a disease spread by mosquitoes that kills around 500,000 people every year, mainly in tropical countries in sub-Saharan Africa and the South Pacific, researchers said.

The findings help answer a mystery about the work of T-cells, which are a type of immune cell that look for infection throughout the body, said lead researcher Hayley McNamara, a PhD scholar at The Australian National University (ANU).

"We know T-cells can protect against most infections, what we still do not fully understand is how these T-cells find the rare cells infected with viruses or parasites like malaria - a needle in a haystack problem if you like," McNamara said.

"In our research we have been able to see that some of the T-cells are specialists, able to patrol the liver hunting down infections like malaria parasites.

"We have found that without a key molecule called LFA-1, that cells do not work - they can not move quickly and can not kill malaria parasites effectively," said McNamara.

Also Read: Exploring the Solar System: NASA adds 4 new research teams to study near-Earth asteroids and moon

ANU Associate Professor Ian Cockburn said that because the T-cells were so effective at finding malaria parasites they could be a component of future vaccines.

"What we want to do is understand how to make a vaccine that induces these types of immune cells. There are vaccines in clinical trials that work by inducing antibodies, adding a T-cell component would create stronger immunity by arming different parts of the immune system," Cockburn said.

Also Read: Space X Dragon cargo ship returns to Earth with Pacific ocean splashdown

ANU researchers are currently working with collaborators in Australia and internationally to find a vaccine approach to make this type of T-cell.

The research was published in the journal Science Immunology. PTI SAR SAR

First Published: Monday, March 20, 2017 04:04 PM



For latest india news on mobile, download News Nation Android app, Windows app and Iphone app. Also like News Nation's official Facebook page and follow us on Twitter and Google Plus to stay tuned to latest news.

MORE FROM NEWS NATION

NEXT STORY