HOME ABOUT CONTACT AVAILABLE ISSUES SUBSCRIBE MEDIA & ADS CONFERENCE CALENDAR
LATEST UPDATES » Volume 20, No. 8, August 2016 – Novel Technologies for Antibody Drug Discovery in Japan       » Global Experts Convene to Discuss China's Plan for Diabetes Prevention and Rehabilitation in 2016       » Butterflies Offer Climate Scientists Ecological Insights       » Thermal Stability of Camelid Single Domain VHH Antibody       » That Gut Feeling: How A Healthy Digestive System Has Everything To Do With It       » World Heart Day - At the Heart of Health      
BIOBOARD - US
Positive Signs for Malaria Vaccine Based on GM Parasite

A malaria vaccine based on genetically modified parasites is worth developing further, according to the first study to test the new approach in humans.

Six volunteers were exposed to the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, rendered harmless by genetic modification, through the bite of Anopheles mosquitoes. All six developed antibodies against the parasite without getting infected, reports the proof of concept study.

But at higher doses one volunteer was infected — indicating that the technique for weakening the parasites needs perfecting before further trials can be carried out.

"Our approach is to genetically engineer parasites by deletion of specific genes that are critical for their replication in the liver," Stefan Kappe, a professor at the Seattle Biomedical Research Institute, United States, and one of the authors of the study, says.

"The genetically attenuated parasites can infect the liver, but cannot complete their development and therefore cannot infect the red blood cells. We call this the 'can check in but cannot check out' approach."

Other researchers have tried a similar approach by irradiating the parasites.

"But there is a critical difference," explains Kappe. "While the existing treatment of parasites uses radiation to cause random mutations in the parasite genome, our approach focuses on fully defined gene deletions that can be tweaked to induce optimal immunity. This way we don't rely on chance … but, rather, we design it."

But he says that it is too early to talk about mass implementation of the vaccine. One challenge is figuring out how to produce the weakened parasites in large enough numbers.

"Currently, they can only be made in mosquitoes, but we are working on making them in tissue culture," says Kappe.

Brian Greenwood, professor of clinical tropical medicine at the UK-based London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, believes that the new experimental vaccine "is a valid approach to the development of a human malaria vaccine but it still has a long way to go".

For example, he says, while the study demonstrated that an immune response is triggered by these weakened parasites, it did not then expose volunteers to infectious malaria parasites to show that they would indeed be protected.

There are also safety concerns. "It would be a disaster if a large number of people were immunised with a parasite that had not been weakened sufficiently to prevent it causing clinical malaria in some recipients," says Greenwood.

Kappe says: "Genetic engineering of the parasite is still an art and very cumbersome, but we are getting better at it".

Source: Science Development Network

Click here for the complete issue.

NEWS CRUNCH  
news World Population Day 2016
news NUS Student Clinches Top Prize at National Smart Mapping Competition with Cutting-Edge Food Security Solution
news Gather China & World Pharmaceutical Entrepreneurs, Create a New Chapter of Chinese Pharma Industry
PR NEWSWIRE  
Asia Pacific Biotech News
EDITORS' CHOICE  

Healthcare Technology Outlook 2020 - Technology uptake
COLUMNS  

APBN Editorial Calendar 2016
January:
Guest Editorial - Biotechnology In Korea
February:
Guest Editorial - Biomedical Research Governance
March:
Guest Editorial - Life-Saving Opportunities: A Guide to Regenerative Medicine
April:
Leading-Edge ONCOLOGY
May:
Healthcare Systems & Policies in Asia
June:
Medical Devices & Healthcare Technology
July:
Water Technology and Management
August:
Novel Technologies for Antibody Drug Discovery in Japan
September:
Infectious Diseases
October:
Medical Tourism
November:
Biomedical Imaging Technology
December:
Food Technology
Editorial calendar is subjected to changes.
– Editor: Carmen, Jia Wen Loh
MAGAZINE TAGS
About Us
Events
Available issues
Editorial Board
Letters to Editor
Instructions to Authors
Advertise with Us
CONTACT
World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd.
5 Toh Tuck Link, Singapore 596224
Tel: 65-6466-5775
Fax: 65-6467-7667
» For Editorial Enquiries:
   biotech_edit@wspc.com or Ms Carmen
» For Subscriptions, Advertisements &
   Media Partnerships Enquiries:
   biotech_ad@wspc.com or Mr Edward
Copyright© 2016 World Scientific Publishing Co Pte Ltd  •  Privacy Policy