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Volunteers sought for edible vaccine trials

Imagine being part of a scientific breakthrough which would revolutionise the way vaccines are administered and make painful needle and syringe jabs a distant memory.

Researchers from The University of Western Australia, private company Ondek and Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital are continuing a study into how the bacteria responsible for stomach ulcers, Helicobacter pylori, can be used as a carrier for ingestible vaccines.

Twenty-four healthy adults are required as study subjects but only a quarter of that number has volunteered to date.

UWA scientists Barry Marshall and Robin Warren discovered that Helicobacter pylori infection caused stomach ulcers. The finding earned the pair the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 2005 and their discovery has changed the way ulcers are managed and cured.

Professor Marshall continued his work into Helicobacter pylori and how the bacteria could be put to good use.

Dr Alma Fulurija, from UWA's School of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, said the latest trial continues a study which began two years ago.  

Currently, the human body's protective mechanisms stop most vaccines being absorbed orally but  Helicobacter pylori naturally attaches itself to the stomach wall and causes irritation which could provide an effective pathway into the bloodstream for an edible vaccine.

Volunteers need to be healthy with no known history of Helicobacter pylori infection.  Researchers will screen volunteers for their suitability as trial subjects.

There are no costs associated with participation in the study and volunteers will be financially reimbursed.

Media references

Dr Alma Fulurija (School of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine)  (+61 8)  9346 4872
Michael Sinclair-Jones (UWA Public Affairs)  (+61 8)  6488 3229  /  (+61 4) 00 700 783

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