News Flash > Women's Health


UTI Vaccine Shows Early Promise

Reported September 21, 2009

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- University of Michigan (U-M) scientists have made an important step toward what could become the first vaccine in the U.S. to prevent urinary tract infections, if the robust immunity achieved in mice can be replicated in humans.

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) affect 53 percent of women and 14 percent of men at least once in their lives. These infections lead to lost work time, 6.8 million medical provider's office visits, 1.3 million emergency room visits and 245,000 hospitalizations each year, with an annual cost of $2.4 billion.

To help combat this common health issue, the U-M scientists used a three-pronged approach to find key parts of the bacterium Escherichia coli that could be used in a vaccine to elicit an effective immune response. The team, led by Dr. Harry L.T. Mobley, Ph.D., screened 5,379 possible bacterial proteins and identified three strong candidates to use in a vaccine to prime the body to fight E. coli, the cause of most urinary tract infections. When tested in mice, the vaccine prevented infection and produced key types of immunity.



Scientists have been attempting to develop a UTI vaccine for the past two decades. This latest potential vaccine has features that may better its chances of success. Administered in the nose, it induces an immune response in the body's mucosa, a first line of defense against invading pathogens. The response, also produced in mucosal tissue in the urinary tract, should help the body fight infection where it starts.

Mobley's team is currently testing more strains of E. coli. Most of the strains produce the same iron-related proteins the vaccine targets, an encouraging sign that the vaccine could work against many types of UTIs. Mobley is seeking to move the vaccine forward into a phase 1 trial in humans. Even if successful, the vaccine would take several more years to reach the market.

SOURCE: PLoS Pathogens, September 18, 2009