NIZO cholera vaccination model to measure how food changes immune response

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01 Jun 2018 --- Scientists from NIZO, in close collaboration with Wageningen University & Research and FrieslandCampina Research & Development, have developed and validated a new test to measure if a specialty food or supplement has health-benefits in humans. The test is based on the immunological response to vaccination with a commercially available oral cholera vaccine. 

The model measures several different vaccine-specific antibody responses, for example in nasal mucosa and blood of volunteers, after vaccination with the commercially available human cholera vaccine Dukoral. Vaccination with Dukoral is known to be suboptimal, resulting in a gradual and transient increase in anti-cholera immune response over time and to protect around 60-70 percent of the vaccinated population, making this model suitable to be used for health research purposes.

“We have established a well-designed setup to study the impact of nutritional interventions on an induced immune response in healthy subjects. If a food or ingredient increases the immune response in our model, it might also help to fight viral or bacterial infections. We expect that this model can provide mechanistic support for the potential of active ingredients to strengthen immune function,” Els van Hoffen, Senior Research Scientist at NIZO.

NIZO reports that it will apply the model in clinical dietary intervention trials to prove general and high level health benefits, by subjecting healthy volunteers to a controlled challenge. This research generates human data on clinical outcomes as early as possible in the development of new food products. The newly developed oral cholera vaccination model is currently available at NIZO as one of the possible human challenge models for use in clinical food trials.

NIZO developed human challenge models for determining how the human body can cope with “challenges” to infection resistance. In these models, the research group applies moderate stresses, such as a vaccination or a gut or respiratory infection to healthy subjects. 

“Basically, these challenge studies include a control group and a group that receives potentially resistance boosting ingredients who are afterwards both exposed to an attenuated (i.e. debilitated) gut or respiratory pathogen,” according to the NIZO website.

NIZO, Wageningen University & Research and FrieslandCampina Research & Development have worked together for five years to develop this oral cholera vaccination model. The research findings were published recently in Mucosal Immunology. Further trials include a challenge with an oral attenuated diarrheagenic E. coli strain and a challenge with a nasal rhinovirus.

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