Here MedZine highlights two studies in the current scientific news. The first describes a new cholera vaccine that provides protection for five years. The second describes the identification of genetic mutations in multiple cancers.
The first vaccine against cholera that provides long-term protection
In a publication in the Lancet Infectious Diseases, Wierzba and colleagues describe an oral cholera vaccine (ShancholTM) that provides sustained protection against cholera in humans for up to five years. Cholera, which is spread through contaminated water or food, causes profuse, dehydrating diarrhea in children and adults and is potentially lethal. It is commonly found in developing countries in Africa and South Asia. Each year there are about 2.8 million cases and 91,000 deaths from cholera. This new vaccine contains strains of killed cholera bacteria and has a protective efficacy of 65% over a five-year period. This vaccine resulted from a public-private partnership led by the International Vaccine Institute with support from the Republic of Korea, Sweden, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Genetic mutations in twelve types of cancer
Kandoth and colleagues analyzed twelve cancer types to identify common genetic mutations, the results are published in Nature. Genes from 3,281 tumors from breast, uterus, head and neck, colon and rectum, bladder, kidney, ovary, lung, brain and blood were analyzed. The researcher identified 127 mutations that appear to drive the development and progression of a range of tumors in the body. Mutations that are common within one type of cancer are also found in seemingly unrelated cancers. In addition, the researchers also identified a number of mutations exclusive to particular cancer types. This research will help to gear up personalized medicine and the goal would be to compile a list of cancer genes responsible for all human cancers. Ultimately, a single test that surveys errors in cancer genes eventually could become part of the standard diagnostics.
Sources: Eurekalert, Lancet Infectious Diseases, and Nature