Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

First Genetically-engineered Malaria Vaccine To Enter Human Trials

Date:
August 24, 2009
Source:
Walter and Eliza Hall Institute
Summary:
Walter and Eliza Hall Institute scientists have created a weakened strain of the malaria parasite that will be used as a live vaccine against the disease. The vaccine, developed in collaboration with researchers from the US, Japan and Canada, will be trialled in humans from early next year.

Professor Alan Cowman from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne, Australia, has created the world's first genetically-modified strain of the malaria parasite that will be used as a live vaccine against the disease. The vaccine, developed in collaboration with researchers from the US, Japan and Canada, will be trialled in humans from early 2010.
Credit: Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research

Walter and Eliza Hall Institute scientists have created a weakened strain of the malaria parasite that will be used as a live vaccine against the disease. The vaccine, developed in collaboration with researchers from the US, Japan and Canada, will be trialled in humans from early next year.

Malaria kills more than one million people each year and destroys – through premature death and disability – the equivalent of at least 35 million years of healthy, productive human life every year.

Professor Alan Cowman, head of the institute's Infection and Immunity division, said in developing the vaccine the research team had deleted two key genes in the Plasmodium falciparum parasite – which causes the form of malaria most deadly to humans. By removing the genes the malaria parasite is halted during its liver infection phase, preventing it from spreading to the blood stream where it can cause severe disease and death.

Their success in genetically modifying the parasite and thereby preventing its invasion of red blood cells is published in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA.

Professor Cowman said similar vaccines had been tested in mice and offered 100 per cent protection against malaria infection. He said it was hoped the vaccine would produce similar results in humans. "Although two genes have been deleted the parasite is still alive and able to stimulate the body's protective immune system to recognize and destroy incoming mosquito-transmitted deadly parasites," Professor Cowman said.

This approach to vaccine development – using a weakened form of the whole organism that causes a particular disease – has proven successful in eradicating smallpox and controlling diseases such as flu and polio.

Professor Cowman said the research team, which includes Dr Matthew O'Neill and Dr Alex Maier from the institute as well as scientists from the Seattle Biomedical Research Institute, the Walter Reed Army Institute for Research and the University of Maryland, had used knowledge from several decades ago – when scientists proved that irradiated malaria parasites provide protection against subsequent malaria infection in animal models and humans – in developing the vaccine.

"Although vaccines are under development that use whole malaria parasites weakened by irradiation to protect against infection, their safety and effectiveness rely on a precise irradiation dose and trial results have been variable," Professor Cowman said. "We believe that our genetically attenuated parasite approach provides a safe and reproducible way of developing a whole organism malaria vaccine."

Professor Cowman said it was unlikely the weakened parasites used in the vaccine would regain their potency as the genes had been deleted from the genome and could not be recreated by the parasite. "In addition, the 'one-two punch' approach of deleting two essential genes make it extremely unlikely that the attenuated parasite vaccine could restore its capacity to multiply and lead to disease," he said.

The human trials of the vaccine will take place at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Maryland, US. The genetically attenuated parasites to be used in the trial are being manufactured at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, which has the only facility worldwide capable of producing genetically-altered malaria parasites that comply with the good manufacturing practice guidelines required for human clinical trials.

The research is supported by a US$17 million, five-year grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. "First Genetically-engineered Malaria Vaccine To Enter Human Trials." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 August 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090728184833.htm>.
Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. (2009, August 24). First Genetically-engineered Malaria Vaccine To Enter Human Trials. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090728184833.htm
Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. "First Genetically-engineered Malaria Vaccine To Enter Human Trials." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090728184833.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Center for Science in the Public Interest released its 2014 list of single meals with whopping calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins