Bacterial construct makes for elegant vaccine

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Engineered bacteria used in vaccine against melanoma

Investigators from Harvard Medical School and London’s Hammersmith Hospital have found a way to use the bacterium Listeria along with Escherichia coli to fight disease instead of causing it. In the November 2001 issue of Gene Therapy, Darren Higgins, Harvard Medical School assistant professor of microbiology, and Hammersmith co-authors report that by modifying E. coli to express a Listeria protein, they have created a vaccine that protects mice against melanoma. The study, conducted at the Molecular Oncology Unit of Cancer Research UK at Hammersmith, is the first in vivo test of this new vaccine approach developed by Higgins and colleagues.