“Researchers with the University of Louisville School of Dentistry have found that a nontoxic part of E. coli could lead to a vaccine against tooth decay. Research fellow Shuang Liang and Georgios Hajishengallis, associate professor of dentistry, have found that removing the toxic part of an E. coli protein renders it harmless yet still able to tell the body to begin an immune response. “This basic science research helps us understand the relationship between disease-causing organisms and our immune system,” Liang explained. It lays the foundation for vaccines against a variety of diseases that begin in the mouth and mucus membranes.” Vaccines work by stimulating the immune system to kill bacteria that cause disease. Vaccines typically include a harmless version of the organism and an adjuvant—an added substance that alerts the immune system to the organism’s presence.”

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