Participants sought for vaccine research study

14 Jun 2017

The research team investigating the effects of vaccines on the human immune system is seeking members of the community to participate in the trial.

Launceston General Hospital infectious diseases specialist, A/Prof Katie Flanagan is undertaking a Clifford Craig funded research project to study the effects of the influenza and DPT vaccines on the immune system of elderly people.

Interested participants will need to be in good health, aged between 30 and 50 years old or 65 years old and above, and have not had a flu vaccination this year.

If eligible, you will receive your seasonal influenza vaccination as part of the study and also the DPT vaccination which provide protection against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis. The latter vaccine will be provided for free whereas you would normally have to pay for it if given by your GP.

For further information about the trial or to register your interest, contact the vaccine study team at research@cliffordcraig.org.au or phone 6777 6001.

 

Background

The immune system declines with increasing age leading to increased susceptibility to infectious diseases, and poor responses to vaccination. This area remains poorly researched and the mechanisms are not understood. It is increasingly acknowledged that childhood vaccines have major effects on the immune system, beyond stimulating a vaccine-specific response. These effects are thought to alter susceptibility to infections not targeted by the vaccine. In some cases the vaccine decreases the rate of other infections, but in other cases infection rates are increased following vaccination. These have been called non-targeted or non-specific effects of vaccines, and they have never been investigated in an elderly population. This study will investigate the effects of the DTaP and Influenza vaccination on the immune systems of elderly Tasmanians. We will use state-of-the-art immunological methods to investigate the immune response to these two vaccines to determine how they modulate the immune system in the elderly and how they interact. This will provide the much needed evidence to optimise vaccine responses in older age groups, with future global health implications.