The Promise of Vaccines for Fighting C. difficile

Over the last decade, Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) infection has rapidly become more prevalent. C. difficile, often abbreviated as C. diff, usually spreads through hospitals and other healthcare facilities, and the elderly are particularly vulnerable. Our society’s overuse of antibiotics has been eliminating normal microbes, allowing C. difficile to take over. Infected patients then release bacterial spores and spread the pathogen to others.

Vaccines are a promising strategy to address this critical public health issue. They are a well-established form of medicine that could be utilized to prevent illness rather than treating an existing infection. While fecal transplants also are being explored, these treatments are very new, and clinicians do not yet know the long-term effects of such procedures. Continue reading

ELISPOT Addresses the Complex Questions Arising From Vaccine and Novel Therapies

The accelerated arrival of novel vaccines and immunotherapies into the clinical space spurred the emergence of fields like personalized medicine, immuno-profiling and immuno-monitoring built around increasingly sophisticated testing platforms. Among them, immunoassays in the ELISpot (Enzyme-Linked ImmunoSpot) family are the most frequently used functional assays for single-cell analysis.

ELISPOT ChartUsing 2017 data from Trialtrove (Citeline.com), we found that ELISpot assays were used in more than 160 open clinical trials (Figure 1). The main drivers for this rising clinical usage are:

  • The increased prevalence of infectious and chronic diseases as the population ages in developed countries
  • Extensive use of immunoassays in oncology new vaccines and immunotherapies
  • Technological developments, such as test automation and rapid analysis
  • Growth in the biotechnology sector

Continue reading

Stepping Up the Game: Measles, Mumps, Rubella and Varicella (MMRV) Concomitant Testing Support for Vaccine Evaluation

The introduction of vaccines against Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR), and Varicella (the “V” in MMRV vaccines) led to a drop in the incidence of these diseases by 89% (Varicella) and 99% (MMR). These effective vaccines are a core component in most pediatric immunization programs across the world. Hence, every time a new pediatric vaccine is added to the existing immunization schedule, clinical evidence must be provided that the newcomer does not adversely influence the immunogenic response to the MMRV-licensed vaccines. These required non-inferiority studies when vaccines are co-administered (known as concomitant vaccine testing) come with their own challenges.

Continue reading