In the coming years, vaccines are likely to be applied to tackle unmet medical needs, pandemic infections and diseases to which travelers are exposed, though no longer present in their country of origin. As resistance to antibiotics rises, we can expect that vaccines will be used for the prevention of microbial infections caused by antibiotic resistant microorganisms.
Staphylococcus aureus is a major human pathogen and current antibiotics are not efficacious against emerging multidrug resistant strains. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop vaccines to target this pathogen.
However, S. aureus vaccine development is hindered by the lack of known correlates of protection. Staphylococcal cutaneous infections are among the leading cause of hospital emergency department visits and represent an important target for clinical trials. DISSection is based on the premise that three-dimensional organotypic human skin models are informative and tractable experimental systems and may therefore represent a valid alternative to animal infection models. Indeed, no reliable correlates of protection are expected to be identified on the basis of animal models because S. aureus expresses several human-specific toxins, immune evasion and complement binding factors.
In addition, researching alternative methods to animal models is an ethical priority for the scientific community. However, at present such models have rarely been used in the field of S. aureus research and, to our knowledge, never with immune-competent models. Therefore, a major aim of DISSection is to develop a human skin equivalent model and integrate key immune components such as antibodies, complement factors, cytokines and professional phagocytes into the epithelial matrix.
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