Therapeutics informing vaccine development for human leishmaniasis

Talk at the VALIDATE Annual Meeting 2024 - 16 July 2024

maria adelaida gomez

Dr Maria Adelaida Gómez, PhD, CIDEIM, Colombia

It is unquestionable that the development of effective vaccines for the prevention of human and animal leishmaniasis is a global health priority. This is accentuated in a changing epidemiological scenario, where tropical vector-borne infections are projected to impact new latitudes due to climate change. However, the limited understanding of what constitutes a protective immune response is a major roadblock towards development of efficacious and long-lasting vaccines. Murine models of visceral and cutaneous leishmaniasis have demonstrated the participation of Th1 and Th2 responses in resistance and susceptibility to disease. However, these are only partially recapitulated in humans, where a mixed Th1/Th2 response is observed in patients with active disease as well as those with asymptomatic infections. Our most recent work describes the transcriptional dynamics of local and systemic immune responses during the course of therapeutic interventions, identifying signatures of healing and non-healing responses.

In this talk, I will discuss the potential of drug-induced immunological profiles to inform vaccine development for cutaneous leishmaniasis. I will share our most recent findings on the participation of monocyte and neutrophil innate immune responses and will explore the hypothesis of innate memory and immune tolerance in cell-mediated protection.