January 13, 2016

Basic Science
Count Me In! Click Here to Register

Dishing the DURT on Human TB:
Molecular Signatures of Systemic & Mucosal Vaccination and the Role of
γ9δ2 (gamma 9/delta 2) T Cells


Daniel Hoft, MD, PhD

Director, Division of Infectious Diseases, Allergy & Immunology
PI, Vaccine & Treatment Evaluation Unit (VTEU)
St. Louis University

Clubhouse Location:
WHSCAB Plaza and Auditorium (1440 Clifton Rd)
6:00 — wine, cheese, and networking
6:30 — cow bell rings, members and guests are challenged to progress downstairs
6:45 — fascinating talk begins
7:30 — spirited Q&A begins
7:45 — the VDC village adjourns for dinner and more networking

Dear Vacciners,

Should Santa Claus wake up on the wrong side of the snowdrift this coming December 24th and ill temperedly offer you a stocking stuffer choice between a lump of coal, phthisis, scrofula, pott's disease, consumption, or the white plague definitely go for the lump of coal.

For one thing, coal is petrified sunlight* which, of course, is much easier to carry around in your pocket than the not-petrified variety is (although Natasha Bedingfield seems to have figured out a way to do it).

But more importantly, all of those other choices are just different names for Tuberculosis. Which you don't want Santa to give you, no matter HOW naughty you may have been this year.

Sure, TB has been celebrated in Broadway blockbusters (Les Miz), operas (La Boheme, La Traviata), and has been diagnosed in celebrities including King Tut, Eleanor Roosevelt, Ralph Waldo Emerson, D.H. Lawrence, Simon Bolivar, Edgar Allan Poe, Emily Bronte, Vivian Leigh, Robert Louis Stevenson, Eugene O'Neil, and Nelson Mandela, not to mention people so famous everyone just calls them by their last name (Kafka, Hitler, Checkov, Goethe, Chopin, Dostoyevsky, Orwell, Gaughin, Keats, Spinoza, Moliere, Paganini, and Voltaire). [I found that information, by the way, on the official website of the State of Delaware. Go Delaware!].

But, despite its pedigree, 5 out of 5 public health docs still recommend that you avoid TB like the white plague.

The first problem is that you can catch TB just by spending a fair amount of time in the same (poorly ventilated) room as an infected person who is breathing, coughing, singing or -- as in these famous deathbed scenes by La Traviata's Violetta and La Boheme's Mimi -- breathing, coughing, and singing all at the same time.

Because it is so easy to catch, a lot of people do that every day. In fact approximately a third of all the humans on the planet are infected with TB and about a million die from it each year.

That includes here in Georgia, which ranked fifth highest in the United States for the number of newly reported TB cases in 2014 and had the seventh highest TB case rate among the 50 reporting states.

So this is clearly a problem that is just going to keep happening, year in and year out, until we have a much better vaccine for TB than the one we currently use.

And that is where our January VDC speaker comes in.

Dr. Hoft is studying whether gamma/delta T cells (which make up about 5% of the T-cells in your blood) can be put to work recognizing, and then shutting down, TB-infected macrophages, an important reservoir for TB. Read More About It Here. Go ahead, I'll wait until you are done reading.

Sound interesting? You betcha! So take a deep breath and register today!

Hope to see you for dinner at the Club the SECOND Wednesday in January when Daniel Hoft dishes the DURT on human TB.
-- Your friendly neighborhood VDC director/goddess

*In case you don't remember your 6th grade science class, coal comes from a time BEFORE dinosaurs walked the earth and is comprised of the solar energy which was stored in the roots, stems and leaves of ancient ferns that got themselves sequentially drowned, buried, squashed, and heated. (Do not try this at home).