Toronto: Researchers are developing a sugar-based shot against a deadly bug that triggers serious gastric disorders, including stomach cancer, and is so widespread that about half of the world`s population has been infected by it during their lifetime.
A team led by Profesor Mario Monteiro, chemist at the University of Guelph in Canada, found a carbohydrate-based antigen caused mice to develop antibodies against a common bacterium linked to gastric cancer.
"This is the first jab at a sugar-based vaccine against Helicobacter pylori," said Monteiro, who completed the study with former undergrad student Stacey Britton, reports the journal Vaccine.
H. pylori is among numerous risk factors for stomach cancer. About half of the world`s population has been infected by the bug during their lifetime, according to a Guelph statement.
In Canada, the bug can cause gastritis and ulcers. Most infections are handled by antibiotics, but a vaccine would improve current treatment, said Monteiro.
Many scientists study potential vaccines based on proteins to prevent or control infection. Since arriving at Guelph in 2004, Monteiro has studied more complicated conjugates containing both proteins and sugars.
The Guelph researchers used a single bacterial strain in mice to induce an immune response against various bug strains.