From Dreams to Reality – Preventing Epilepsy in Poor, Developing Countries by Vaccination Against a Cestode Parasite
Free Public Lecture
The Craig Auditorium
The Gateway Building (Next to University of Melbourne Sports Centre)
Trinity College, Tin Alley
T: (03) 8344 2071
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Diseases caused by parasites such as worms, ticks and protozoa have been remarkably difficult to prevent by vaccination. Indeed, there has never been any vaccine for use in humans against parasitic disease.
Despite these daunting prospects, Professor Lightowler and his team have sought to develop a vaccine to prevent epilepsy in humans caused by Taenia solium, a parasite transmitted to humans by pigs in areas with poor sanitation. This parasitic infection causes more than half the epilepsy cases in areas where it is common, including in communities in India, Latin America, Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe. Vaccinating pigs would greatly reduce human infections.
Using genetic engineering techniques, the team were successful in developing an effective vaccine. With support from the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust, the vaccine has been developed further and is now available as a registered product. In collaboration with groups in Mexico, Peru, Nepal, Tanzania, Uganda and Madagascar and with the backing of World Health Organization. They are now endeavouring to determine the most effective and sustainable program for use of the vaccine.
This lecture is part of the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences' Dean's Lecture Series.