Breakthrough in Designing a Better Salmonella Vaccine

By Trina Wood

UC Davis researchers announce in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week a breakthrough in understanding which cells afford optimal protection against Salmonella infection—a critical step in developing a more effective and safe vaccine against a bacterium that annually kills an estimated one million people worldwide.

Salmonella bacteria (red) invading human cells. Salmonella infections can cause severe disease and current vaccines are inadequate. New work in mouse models shows which cells are responsible for immunity to Salmonella and may lead to improved vaccines. Photo credit: Rocky Mountain Laboratories, NIAID, NIH

Mouse study of breast cancer vaccine

Researchers lead by Michael DeGregorio and Greg Wurz at the UC Davis Cancer Center are beginning a study of a vaccine against breast cancer. Stimuvax, developed by Merck, targets MUC1, a molecule found in 90 percent of breast cancers. Working with lab mice, the researchers will test whether the vaccine can slow or prevent the growth of cancers when used in combination with standard hormone-blocking therapies.

To test the vaccine, the researchers will use mice bred to express the human MUC1 gene and a gene that causes spontaneous breast cancer.