A Snort of Prevention

Intranasal vaccine shows promise against bacteria that causes gastritis, ulcer disease and cancer

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Researchers have identified a potential vaccine capable of reducing the colonization of the bacterium Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), a known cause of gastritis, ulcer disease and cancer.

Stopping the colonization of H.pylori with a vaccine would have far-reaching health consequences. Treatments for infection include multiple antibiotics combined with acid suppression medications. The bacterium is now more difficult to eradicate due to increased antibiotic resistance, however, which has increased interest of vaccine development.

To address this, researchers from Rhode Island Hospital, University of Rhode Island and EpiVax, Inc. have utilized a gene-to-vaccine approach, incorporating multiple epitopes (a part of an antigen that is recognized by the immune system) and administered the vaccine in animal models. They found the vaccine was more effective when delivered intranasally (through the nose) than intramuscularly (a shot).

Lead author Steven Moss, M.D., a gastroenterologist at Rhode Island Hospital, said the preliminary study results suggest "further development of an epitope-based mucosal vaccine against H. pylori can potentially lead to a novel approach to prevent H. pylori-associated diseases", such as peptic-ulcer disease and gastric cancer in humans.

While H. pylori is the primary cause of many peptic ulcers, other contributing factors can increase risk of development, including too much alcohol intake; regular use of aspirin and certain NSAIDS (ibuprofen, naproxen); use of tobacco products; and radiation treatments.

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Review Date: 
February 3, 2011
Last Updated:
February 3, 2011