Chlamydia vaccine protects in animal studies

Chlamydia trachomatis infection is the most frequently reported bacterial sexually transmitted disease in the U.S.A. according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, leaving women infertile and costing the healthcare system billions of dollars every year. The vaccine developer Genocea Biosciences has used its in-house proteomics screening technology, AnTigen Lead Acquisition System (ATLAS), to identify two potential candidates for C trachomatis vaccines.

The company researchers vaccinated mice with proteins known as CT823 and CT144, along with a vaccine adjuvant. This triggered both T cell and antibody responses, and the mice developed a long-term protection against infection against C trachomatis. The results were published in Vaccine.

"These results provide a strong rationale for us to move forward with the design of a vaccine for Chlamydia, which is associated with serious health problems and significant costs to the medical system," Jessica Baker Flechtner, vice president of research, said. "This study provides further validation of our approach for identifying promising vaccine candidates capable of addressing a wide variety of complex pathogens."

Chlamydial infection can easily be treated with antibiotics, but because it's symptomless, it's often left until it's too late and the damage has been done. The infection may also cause premature birth. A vaccine that could be given before girls become sexually active, much as the HPV vaccine is, could prevent serious complications in the long-term, as well as reducing costs for the healthcare system and cutting infertility rates. According to the company, these antigens could provide the basis for the rational design of such a vaccine.

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