EpiVax receives grant for $390,000 to optimize HIV vaccine delivery
An enzyme that lives in Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and helps the dangerous bacterium to grow and spread infection through the human body has been visualised for the first time, according to a study out today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Now, armed with detailed information about the structure of
Full Post: MRSA’s weak point visualised by scientists
EpiVax, Inc., a leader in the field of computational immunology, announced today that it has received a grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to optimize delivery of an HIV vaccine.
NIAID will provide EpiVax with $390,000 over two years for the proposed research.
“The recent failure of the investigational HIV vaccine tested in the Phase II clinical trial known as STEP is a strong indicator that more traditional approaches to vaccine design and delivery are simply not going to work for HIV. That’s why the EpiVax brand of “outside the box” thinking was funded; the world is looking for safer, more effective ways to prevent AIDS,” said Dr. Annie De Groot, CEO and CSO of the company. “We are especially aware of the need for such a vaccine as we approach World AIDS Day, a time when our thoughts turn to the 50 million people who have been infected with HIV and the 20 million who have already died from AIDS.”
Using the grant funding from the NIH, EpiVax will develop a pro-inflammatory and non-tolerogenic HIV vaccine delivery system based on the dendritic cell targeting anti-DEC-205 antibody. The success of anti-DEC-205 as a vaccine carrier is dependent on co-administration of non-specific dendritic cell maturation factors such as CD40-ligand. In their absence, anti-DEC-205 induces antigen-specific tolerance rather than immunity. EpiVax reasons that regulatory T-cell epitopes contained in anti-DEC-205 promote a tolerogenic reaction that is only overcome through the coadministration of clinically dangerous or untested non-specific immuno-stimulators. This idea is based on EpiVax’ discovery of a set of natural regulatory T-cell epitopes derived from human immunoglobulins that induce tolerance by stimulating regulatory T cells. EpiVax has already verified experimentally that these epitopes cause antigen-specific expansion of regulatory T cells and suppress inflammatory immune responses.
The NIH award will enable EpiVax to develop a modified pro-inflammatory and non-tolerogenic anti-DEC-205 antibody. Modification of regulatory T-cell epitopes is expected to significantly diminish tolerogenicity, enabling use of anti-DEC-205 as a stand-alone HIV antigen delivery system that obviates the dangers associated with non-specific activation of the immune system.
Epitope modification is an immunomodulatory approach EpiVax previously developed to reduce immunogenicity of protein therapeutics. Here, EpiVax will substitute key amino acids in the regulatory T-cell epitopes with those that are experimentally shown to interfere with MHC binding to reduce tolerogenicity.
Vaccines According to the World Health Organization, “The development of a safe and effective vaccine is hampered by the high genetic variability of HIV, the lack of knowledge of immune correlates of protection, the absence of relevant and predictive animal models, and the complexity of the implementation of efficacy trials, especially in developing countries.”
GeoVax Labs, Inc. has announced that the launch of its Phase 2a Human Vaccine Trials will take place in twelve sites across North and South America. These trials are conducted in collaboration with The National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN). “It is of significant importance to report this major
Full Post: GeoVax’s HIV/AIDS human vaccine trials to begin in North and South America
Malaria kills more than one million people every year so the news that an effective vaccine could be available within five years is more than welcome. Malaria is caused by Plasmodium falciparum, the most deadly malaria parasite transmitted by the female anopheles mosquito and is the leading killer of children under the age of five
Full Post: Vaccine against malaria could be ready in 5 years
Our immune cells have an amazingly intricate recognition system to detect invading pathogens. Often, the intricacies have overwhelmed scientists who want to know exactly what gives an alarm signal to T cells, a class of white blood cells that recognizes invaders. “For some pathogens like the flu, the components that trigger a host immune response
Full Post: Scientists pinpoint immune-system targets in complex pathogens
Skin cancer patient Debra Gardocki receives an injection from oncologist Dr. Sanjiv Agarwala as part of a study exploring a new approach to treat advanced melanoma — an often fatal form of cancer for which there are limited effective treatment options. The study — which is taking place at up to 25 centers across the
Full Post: New approach to treat advanced melanoma
MorphoSys AG and the University of Melbourne announced today that the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) has confirmed that it will issue U.S. Patent No. 7,455,836, covering key uses of antibodies against GM-CSF. The patent stems from a provisional patent application filed in the USPTO in 2000 by the University of Melbourne. In
Full Post: MorphoSys granted U.S. patent on antibodies against GM-CSF to treat inflammatory disorders