Bacterial meningitis is believed to be a very dangerous disease. It has been stated that this disease may even have the ability of taking someone’s life merely a few hours after the onset of its symptoms. Over the years various experts have tried to better understand the process through which this potentially fatal disease takes place in the body.
Now at last success has been gained by the scientists from The University of Nottingham and the Department of Infectious Diseases at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis Tennessee. Years of hard work have yielded an answer to this question. These experts have now unveiled the technique through which meningococcal bacteria evades the immune system and attacks the victim’s brain.
In children this disease is believed to mainly be caused by the respiratory track pathogens, namely Streptococcus pneumoniae, Neisseria meningitidis, and Haemophilus influenzae. The technique employed by these highly deadly germs to infiltrate the blood brain barrier was seemingly very mysterious, until now.
It was stated that that these pathogens aim for the similar receptor on the filtering system which keeps diseases away from the brain. Thereby, it results in the penetration of the blood-brain barrier.
The study experts suggest that altering the process through which this communication takes place between the pathogens and the receptor may provide a protection from the meningitis bacteria. Therefore this may in turn aid in the development of novel approaches for the prevention and treatment of this particular disease.
Lead investigator, Dlawer Ala’Aldeen, Professor of Clinical Microbiology, says that, “This is a significant breakthrough which will help us design novel strategies for the prevention and treatment of bacterial meningitis. Identification of the human receptor and bacterial ligands is like identifying a mysterious key and its lock, which will open new doors and pave the way for new discoveries.”
These findings could lead to the development of enhanced vaccines and treatments which could effectively fight against meningitis and succeed in saving the life of innocent children.
The study results have been reported in The Journal of Clinical Investigation.