Research accelerated for improved TB tests, vaccines
In 2015, approximately 10.4 million people were newly diagnosed around the world with TB. Currently, the TB vaccine bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) is used to treat children in high-prevalence countries, though adults are more likely to give false positives when this vaccine is used. A new vaccine is being worked on to improve the accuracy of TB tests. In animal research, T-cells are slow to congregate in the lungs, causing increased infection despite vaccination.
Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis found that dendritic cells help the immune system work faster by presenting the disease-fighting T-cells to attack pathogens. After the researchers determined mice responded well to the TB bacteria, they introduced dendritic cells that were "primed" by exposure to molecules from TB bacteria into the lungs of vaccinated mice and exposed the mice to different strains of M. tuberculosis. The research noted that the technique used in mice may not be practical in humans, but the research has brought about more effective TB vaccine ideas.