Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Protein that may lead to malaria vaccine discovered

Date:
May 22, 2014
Source:
Lifespan
Summary:
A protein that is essential for malaria-causing parasites to escape from inside red blood cells has been discovered by scientists. This protein could lead to the development of a vaccine that would prevent the progression of Plasmodium falciparum malaria, which kills one child every 15 seconds each year in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, according to new research.

Jonathan Kurtis, M.D., Ph.D., is director of the Center for International Health Research at Rhode Island Hospital, and the study's principal investigator.
Credit: LIFESPAN

Rhode Island Hospital researchers have discovered a protein that is essential for malaria-causing parasites to escape from inside red blood cells. Antibodies to this protein trap the parasite inside these red blood cells. This protein could lead to the development of a vaccine that would prevent the progression of Plasmodium falciparum malaria, which kills one child every 15 seconds each year in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, according to new research by Jonathan Kurtis, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues, published in the May 23 issue of journal Science.

"This research really began in 2002 when our colleagues from the National Institutes of Health, led by Patrick Duffy and Michal Fried, enrolled a birth cohort of children in Tanzania," said Kurtis, director of the Center for International Health Research at Rhode Island Hospital, and the study's principal investigator. "Six years ago we began using these samples to identify novel vaccine candidates and now it's coming full circle. While a portion of this research was conducted in mice, the actual vaccine discovery experiments were performed using human samples, thus we believe the results will effectively translate to humans."

In the mouse experiments, researchers conducted five independent vaccine trials in which mice were vaccinated with the novel antigen, which they have designated as Schizont Egress Antigen-1 (PfSEA-1) or control. All mice were then challenged with malaria parasites. In all five experiments, vaccinated mice had lower levels of malaria parasites and survived longer than the unvaccinated mice.

"When my post-doctoral fellow Dipak Raj discovered that antibodies to this protein, PfSEA-1, effectively trapped the malaria-causing parasite within the red blood cells, it was truly a moment of discovery,'" Kurtis said. "Many researchers are trying to find ways to develop a malaria vaccine by preventing the parasite from entering the red blood cell, and here we found a way to block it from leaving the cell once it has entered. If it's trapped in the red blood cell, it can't go anywhere… it can't do any further damage."

The researcher then measured antibodies to PfSEA-1 in the entire Tanzanian birth cohort of 785 children. Surprisingly, among children with antibodies to PfSEA-1, there were zero cases of severe malaria. To generalize their results, researchers then went back to a serum bank they had collected from 140 children in Kenya in 1997. They found that individuals with antibodies to PfSEA-1 had 50 percent lower parasitemia than individuals without these antibodies during a high transmission season.

"We still have additional trials ahead of us, first in another animal model, but we hope to begin Phase I trials in humans very soon," Kurtis said. "Our findings support PfSEA-1 as a potential vaccine candidate, and we are confident that by partnering with our colleagues at the National Institutes of Health and other researchers focused on vaccines to prevent the parasites from entering red blood cells, we can approach the parasite from all angles, which could help us develop a truly effective vaccine to prevent this infectious disease that kills millions of children every year."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. DK Raj et al. Antibodies to PfSEA-1 block parasite egress from RBCs and protect against malaria infection. Science, May 2014 DOI: 10.1126/science.1254417

Cite This Page:

Lifespan. "Protein that may lead to malaria vaccine discovered." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140522141424.htm>.
Lifespan. (2014, May 22). Protein that may lead to malaria vaccine discovered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140522141424.htm
Lifespan. "Protein that may lead to malaria vaccine discovered." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140522141424.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

AP (July 28, 2014) A bipartisan deal to improve veterans health care would authorize at least $15 billion in emergency spending to fix a veterans program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Reuters - US Online Video (July 28, 2014) Two American aid workers in Liberia test positive for Ebola while working to combat the deadliest outbreak of the virus ever. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
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