Vancouver, BC, Canada (PRWEB) March 22, 2012
Immune Network Ltd., (IMMFF:PK), advises that Immunitor (http://www.immunitor.com) scientists contributed to an invitation-only special edition of British journal “Expert Review of Anti-infective Therapy” – dedicated to immune approaches against microbial and viral infections. The March issue of the journal featured their review article on immunotherapy of tuberculosis (http://www.expert-reviews.com/doi/abs/10.1586/eri.12.1
This special focus issue of the journal presents a series of thought provoking cutting-edge articles of interest to both clinicians and basic scientists working in the fields of immunology and infectious diseases. The rates of antibiotic resistance continue to rise and many previously treatable infections have started to pose significant challenges and remain the cause of millions of deaths worldwide. In this setting, scientists and clinicians are beginning to look more and more to modulating our natural defenses through immunomodulatory therapies.
One of greatest challenges among these diseases is tuberculosis. The World Health Organization estimates that 2 billion people are infected with the latent form of TB. In 2010 there were about 9 million people in the world with active TB. Twenty-six percent lived in Africa, 59% in Asia, 7% in the Eastern Mediterranean, 3% in the Americas, and 5% in Europe. It is also estimated that 1.4 million people died from TB in 2010. Drug resistant forms of TB known as MDR-TB and XDR-TB are increasingly common. Adjunctive immunotherapy, meaning the combination with standard chemotherapy, has the potential to shorten TB treatment and improve treatment outcomes of drug-resistant TB. According to the WHO immunotherapy is defined as the use of therapeutic vaccines or immunomodulators to shorten chemotherapy or reduce immunopathology.
The published paper - a joint collaborative effort of immunology experts from USA, Canada, Russia, Ukraine, and South Africa - is aimed to provide understanding to the immunological basis for protective immunity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis. In particular the history of immune therapy of TB is discussed with emphasis on clinically validated immune modulators that have been or currently used in various parts of the world. Most of them are little known and this review will be helpful as a single source of useful information. The following key issues were discussed in this review article:
- The immune approach in TB therapy has been around since 1890 - it was started by Robert Koch himself – the German microbiologist who discovered the cause of tuberculosis in 1882. But there are even earlier empirical precedents such as those found in Li Shi Chen’s scholarly treatise Pên Ts’ao Kang Mu published in 1595.
- Despite long history immunotherapy is viewed skeptically due to failure of several recent trials, especially with cytokines.
- Failures are linked to the flaw in thinking that TB arises as a result of “weakened” immune response.
- TB is a disease that occurs when the immune tolerance to mycobacterium is replaced by exaggerated immune response – characterized by inflammatory reaction against own tissues harboring the tubercle bacilli.
- By consequence TB is an autoimmune disease triggered by mycobacterial infection.
- In order to produce favorable clinical outcome one needs to manage immunity by restoring the immune tolerance.
- Immune tolerance does not mean immune suppression – it’s an active process, as potent as classical immune activation.
- If this concept is true, then immune correlates of protective immunity have to be searched in places that were overlooked by current research.
- There are many immunotherapeutics that have been successful and they need to be investigated so that clues emerge, which could help not only the therapy but development of new preventive vaccines against TB, which are aimed at improving or replacing current bacille Calmette-Guerin or BCG vaccine.
The article also provides the first glance into the outcome of recent trial of therapeutic TB vaccine (V7-immunitor) based on heat-inactivated Mycobacterium vaccae formulated as a simple pill to be taken orally.
It is hoped that this issue of Expert Review of Anti-infective Therapy will raise awareness on immune therapy as both a simple and complex concept and encourage further research in the field. Other articles in this special issue are of considerable interest to physicians and scientists specialized in unrelated infectious diseases and who will find most recent viewpoints in this active area of research. A full listing of articles is available at: http://www.expert-reviews.com/toc/eri/10/3.
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