University of Nottingham and ImmunoBiology Ltd (“ImmBio”) initiate Clostridium difficile Vaccine Programme, backed by the MRC

10 August 2010

Nottingham & Cambridge, UK; August 2010: The bacterium Clostidium difficile (“C. difficile”) is likely to remain a healthcare issue due to difficulties in preventing infection and its life-threatening consequences.  Its long-lived and resilient spores are difficult to clear by hygiene measures alone.  Infection frequently follows antibiotic use which eradicates other bacteria but leaves the patient prone to colonisation by C. difficile.  A prophylactic vaccine could be used in various situations, such as ahead of hospitalisation, for those facing long term care and for groups most threatened by infection, such as chemotherapy patients.

ImmunoBiology (“ImmBio”) is developing a novel approach to vaccines using Heat shock protein Complexes  (HspCs TM ). The first programme started was against TB, working with Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation and supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. A second MRC funded programme against invasive meningococcal disease shows excellent results to date.

Nottingham University’s ‘Clostridia Research Group’ is part of the Centre for Healthcare Associated Infections (launched Jan 2007), a new component of the Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation.  The group has established significant expertise across a range of organisms including the hospital superbug Clostridium difficileand is located in new state-of-the art laboratories within the Centre for Biomolecular Sciences (CBS), a £25M investment by the University in multidisciplinary science.

An eighteen month programme aims to establish proof of principle of an HspC vaccine against C. difficile, combining Nottingham’s expertise with ImmBio’s novel technology and backed by the UK’s Medical Research Council. The MRC award is the first of a new scheme, initiated through Showcase meetings, bringing together industrial and academic groups, with funding subsequently awarded to selected emergent opportunities.