First 'cross-kingdom' vax effective in PhI

NovaDigm Therapeutics is developing a vaccine that could work against both bacteria and fungi, and could even combat resistant bacteria such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, more famously known as MRSA. The vaccine was safe and effective in its second Phase I study, according to results presented at the 15th Annual Conference on Vaccine Research.

The vaccine, known as NDV-3, targets an antigen from Candida albicans, the yeast that causes thrush. Antibodies to this antigen also target other bacteria and fungi, and, according to the company, this makes NDV-3 the first "cross-kingdom" vaccine in development.

The researchers gave 160 healthy women a single dose of the vaccine into the muscle with or without an adjuvant, and under the skin without an adjuvant. Some of the volunteers had a placebo (dummy) version of the vaccine. All three groups dosed with the vaccines showed increases in antibodies in their blood and vaginas. This suggests that the vaccine could prevent vaginal thrush, which will be the focus of the company's planned Phase II study.

While thrush might only seem an inconvenience, 24,000 people die from candidiasis each year in the U.S., particularly people with damaged immune systems, or who have other illnesses. On top of this, in 2008, approximately 15,000 people died from MRSA infections. A vaccine against these afflications would have a huge impact on the number of lives saved, and could even be used to reduce the number of healthy people who become infected with MRSA and then spread it to others, unaware.

- read the press release

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