Clinical and histopathological evaluation of the effect of addition of immunotherapy with Mw vaccine to standard chemotherapy in borderline leprosy
This study reports detailed analysis of clinical parameters and clearance of granuloma in borderline leprosy patients treated with immunotherapy and chemotherapy. It aims to assess the additive effect of immunotherapy (Mwvaccine) with standard MDT on clinical status of untreated borderline leprosy cases and on granuloma fraction of untreated borderline leprosy cases. Patients attending the OPD were serially recruited in two groups. A total of 150 cases in one treatment (trial) group (Mw vaccine plus MDT) and 120 cases in another treatment (control) group (MDT only) of border line leprosy have been included. After the formal written consent, detailed clinical examination, charting, smear examination of all untreated borderline patients of both groups was done, biopsies were taken from the active lesions of all patients of both groups at start of therapy and every six month thereafter till the completion of therapy. The same procedure was repeated every six months during the follow-up period. Standard MDT was given to all the patients of both groups according to type of disease. Mw vaccine 0.1 ml (0.5 x 10(9) bacilli) was injected intra-dermally at the start of therapy and every six months in addition to chemotherapy to the treatment group. The BT cases were followed up after 6 doses of MDT and 2 doses of Mw vaccine, and, the BB, BL cases were followed up after 24 doses of MDT plus 5 doses of Mw vaccine. Clinically, greater and faster improvement was observed in all the clinical parameters, faster attainment of smear negativity and two episodes of lepra reaction occurred in cases treated with combined chemotherapy and immunotherapy, as compared to controls (chemotherapy alone) wherein clinical improvement was slower in all parameters, slower attainment of smear negativity in bacillary index and seven showed the occurrence of reactions, histipathologically in addition to more rapid clearance of granuloma in immunotherapy treated group, a significant finding was an increase in the epithelioid cells population in this group. This suggests a possible immunoactivation of the macrophages especially in BB/BL immunotherapy group. Overall comparison of regression induced by chemotherapy alone with that induced by combined chemotherapy and immunotherapy shows a greater reduction in clinical parameters as well as granuloma fraction in BT cases as well as in BB/BL cases. This trial shows the potential usefulness of this approach of addition of immunotherapy to standard chemotherapy in borderline leprosy cases which leads to in faster recovery from disease reduced chances of reactions and faster granuloma clearance. Such information is expected to be useful in improving the immunotherapeutic approaches for treatinggranulomatous conditions in general and in leprosy in particular.
Development of a potent invigorator of immune responses endowed with both preventive and therapeutic properties
This article reviews briefly the making of an immunoprophylactic-cum-immunotherapeutic vaccine against leprosy. The vaccine is based on cultivable, heat-killed atypical mycobacteria, whose gene sequence is now known. It has been named Mycobacterium indicus pranii. It has received the approval of the Drug Controller General of India and the US Food and Drug Administration. Besides leprosy, M. indicus pranii has found utility in the treatment of category II (“difficult to treat”) tuberculosis. It also heals ugly anogenital warts. It has preventive and therapeutic action against SP2/O myelomas. It is proving to be a potent adjuvant for enhancing antibody titers of a recombinant vaccine against human chorionic gonadotropin, with the potential of preventing pregnancy without derangement of ovulation and menstrual regularity in sexually active women.