Prospects for vaccine development

The application of molecular biologic techniques over the past decade has seen a tremendous growth in our knowledge of the biology of E. histolytica, and has led to the identification and structural characterization of three potential amoebic vaccine antigens: the serine-rich E. histolytica protein (SREHP), the 170-kDa subunit of the Gal/GalNAc binding lectin, and the 29-kDa cysteine-rich protein. Such a putative vaccine may be an oral combination 'enteric pathogen' vaccine, capable of inducing protective mucosal immune responses to several clinically important enteric pathogens, including E. histolytica (Ryan et al. 1997; Stanley 1997). An understanding of the amoeba's obligatory encystment pathway should provide an approach for interrupting the transmission (Eichinger 1997).

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