Researchers at the Biochemistry Department of the University of Lausanne, Switzerland and University of Montpellier, France, have discovered a method for the quick development of malaria vaccines. The scientists hoped to develop an antibody-based vaccine for malaria to stop proliferation of the parasite in blood. They turned to the recently sequenced malaria parasite genome and bioinformatics peptide synthesis, using hundreds of short-helical coiled protein segments which are able to maintain their conformation once they are chemically synthesized. In the first round of vaccine selection, all 95 peptides synthesized were recognized by the blood of malaria immune patient donors. Purified human antibodies that are specific to at least a dozen of these peptides could inhibit the growth of the malaria parasite in the body. The researchers say that quick detection would speed up the manufacturing process of vaccines, thereby reducing time and cost to enter new vaccine candidates in clinical trials.
Researchers at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) published a study in the July 23 edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences about their discovery of a therapeutic ovarian cancer vaccine. The cancer vaccine is formulated to trigger the antitumor response in the body, which in turn would inhibit the cancer cells that remain after primary treatment. The study evaluated the effect of this vaccine in women with epithelial ovarian cancer. "Further, we detected vaccine-induced immune cells in patients up to 12 months after immunization, suggesting a long-lasting effect," said Kunle Odunsi, of the Gynecologic Oncology and Immunology departments at RPCI.
Researchers in the molecular genetics and microbiology department at Duke University have discovered genetic reasons why a small percentage of people have a natural resistance to HIV. When a person is infected by HIV, viral load rises to a high level before the immune system pushes it down to a stable level. Some people can push the virus to undetectable levels; those who cannot control it progress rapidly to AIDS. "People really vary in their vulnerability to HIV. Some people, despite repeated, high degrees of exposure, will not become infected," said David Goldstein, lead researcher. "And even for those who do become infected, their immune systems are able to control the virus just fine." Researchers estimate up to 10% of people who do become infected will not become sick. Understanding people’s natural resistance to HIV may lead to new HIV vaccines or treatments.
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