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More MS news articles for March 2004

Vaccine-in-a-patch linked to diabetes and multiple sclerosis

Ingredients called accelerants trigger immune system diseases in mice

March 11, 2004
The Medical Posting

Adhesive patches -- proposed as an easy way to vaccinate children -- may increase the risk of developing diabetes and multiple sclerosis, Australian researchers suggest.

The method is being tested in the United States, where its developers contend seven in 10 immunizations will be done this way within five years because the method offers lower cost, less pain and greater hygiene.

But research by Alan Baxter at James Cook University in Townsville, Australia, and Tony Basten of the University of Sydney raises doubts about the safety of the technique.

The patches contain components of either a virus or bacteria, as do existing vaccines. But they also use accelerants that increase the body's response to the vaccine.

"We've found that the accelerant also accelerates other ongoing tissue damage which may be occurring in the person," Baxter says.

Their research showed that multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes appeared at an earlier stage in mice treated with the accelerant than in other mice.

In type 1 diabetes, the body's immune system mistakenly attacks the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. In multiple sclerosis, it attacks the myelin sheath covering nerves in the brain and spinal cord.

"We found that the way this accelerant increases a person's immune response to the vaccine appears to be exactly the same as the mechanism by which it increases the reaction to your own tissue, and this effect cannot be separated."

Baxter says the findings mean patch vaccines will need to be tested much more extensively than planned.

Copyright © 2004, The Medical Posting