New Vaccine Holds Promise In Preventing Chronic Inflammation

mindbodygreen Editorial Assistant By Sarah Regan
mindbodygreen Editorial Assistant
Sarah Regan is a writer, registered yoga instructor, and Editorial Assistant at mindbodygreen. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from SUNY Oswego, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Image by Bisual Studio / Stocksy

As we learn more and more about health, well-being, and all the factors that affect both, inflammation has become a major player in the conversation.

Linked with symptoms ranging from bloating and acne to more serious things like depression and cancer, chronic inflammation, researchers believe, could continue to increase in prevalence. But a new vaccine offers hope for the future of preventing inflammatory diseases.

How the vaccine works.

The vaccine, which is currently for animals, was developed by Institut Cochin in France.

Researchers already knew about a connection between inflammation, gut health, and the protein flagellin: Flagellin essentially allows bacteria to pass through the intestinal barrier into the rest of the body, resulting in inflammation, and while antibodies exist within that intestinal barrier to help prevent leaky gut, it's harder to keep all the bacteria contained if your microbiome is out of balance.

Researchers hypothesized they could boost the flagellin antibodies within the gut, thereby keeping harmful bacteria from spreading into the body. They administered a flagellin vaccine to mice by injecting it directly into their intestinal lining, spurring the production of the flagellin-fighting antibodies.

When inflammation was induced, the unvaccinated mice became obese, and the vaccinated mice did not. Immunization quelled intestinal inflammation by lowering levels of the flagellin-expressing bacteria in their microbiota, intestines, and intestinal lining.

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What comes next.

Chronic inflammation is thought to be related to 60% of deaths worldwide, due to its connection to stroke, diabetes, cancer, and more. This vaccine could be a game-changer if scientists are able to replicate the findings in a version for humans, which researcher Benoît Chassaing says they're working on.

"This vaccine strategy can be envisaged in humans, because such abnormalities of the microbiota have been observed in patients with inflammatory and metabolic diseases. With this in mind, we are currently working on a means of locally administering flagellin to the intestinal mucosa," he says. 

They're also looking into testing the vaccine on animals that already have chronic inflammatory diseases, to see if it can be used for inflammatory treatment, as opposed to just prevention.

But until such a vaccine for humans exists, there are lots of ways to combat inflammation naturally. If you're still looking for more information, check out our Ultimate Guide to Inflammation class or try our 21-day plan to beat inflammation.

Ready to learn how to fight inflammation and address autoimmune disease through the power of food? Join our 5-Day Inflammation Video Summit with mindbodygreen’s top doctors.

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