New vaccine eliminates and prevents recurring UTIs

Urinary tract infections (UTI) are a common and painful condition which occurs when bacteria gets into the urinary tract. These are most often treated with antibiotics which can be tough on the body and even pave the way for an infection return. Fortunately, researchers at Duke University have developed a vaccine which not only clears out harmful bacteria, but also prevents the infection from returning. 

In their research, the scientists figured out that the reason that infections return to easily with UTIs is that the body sends Th2 cells to the infection site which repair damaged tissue, but don’t target bacterial pathogens like Th1 cells do. To compensate for the body’s natural response, the researchers created a vaccine which targets bacterial pathogens and summons more Th1 cells to the bladder. It effectively teaches the body how to fight off future infections should one try to return. 

The vaccine is delivered via catheter and in trial runs with E. coli infections, the injection both eliminated the infection and prevented its return. Further clinical trials are required before the vaccine can be widely distributed, but for individuals who suffer from chronic UTIs, this is a solution with great promise for improved quality of life. 

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