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AAPS National Biotechnology Conference to highlight innovative vaccines

ARLINGTON, VA (May 14, 2012) - Vaccination studies from Mercer University (Ga.) headline the groundbreaking research being unveiled at the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists' (AAPS) National Biotechnology Conference (NBC). The conference takes place Monday, May 21 - Wednesday, May 23 at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina. Other topics to be discussed include diversity and complexity of vaccine manufacturing, scale-up and tech transfer strategies, applications of multi-scale systems pharmacology, and advances in novel small protein therapeutic modalities.

Development of Microparticulate Vaccine for Enhanced Innate Immune Recognition

Meningitis is a deadly bacterial disease prevalent among children. It has a quick onset of action and high fatality rate. Once infected, it may spread from the brain to other parts of the body within 24-48 hours, causing a rash that can lead to amputation of limbs, hearing or vision loss and sometimes fatality. Vaccines may play an important role in the prevention of this disease as they help to generate immunity against the bacteria before it can cause infection. Research presented offers cost-effective and convenient alternatives to current options.

"Although vaccines are available for meningitis, our research focuses on the development of an oral vaccine that can be needle free and patient compliant," said Martin D'Souza, Ph.D., director of graduate programs and co-director of the Center for Drug Delivery Research at Mercer University. "This vaccine is delivered in the form of spherical bead like particles called microparticles that protect the vaccine's degradation from acid in the stomach and ensure its delivery to the intestine where the microparticles are taken up by specialized M-cells and further presented to the body's immune system."

Currently, this research is focusing on the evaluation of an immune response in an in vitro cell culture model and we will be translating this very soon to in vivo studies in a mouse model.

Microparticulate Ovarian Cancer Vaccine

According to a new report from the American Cancer Society, cancer costs close to $900 billion dollars per year in lost productivity costs. Unlike other diseases, cancer is overwhelmingly complicated to treat. Even though cancer treatment has improved, in most cases there is a possibility of cancer recurring after some years. Therefore, in order to prevent relapse, scientists are trying new approaches such as vaccination to treat the disease.

"When a patient gets admitted to a hospital and undergoes surgical removal of tumor, the same tumor can be used to make the cancer vaccine which is very specific to their cancer," said D'Souza. "By doing so, the therapy ensures that the patient gets a customized vaccine to combat further relapse of cancer in the most effective way." Currently other than the human papilloma (HPV) vaccine, there is only one cancer vaccine available on the market, a prostate cancer vaccine." D'Souza continues, "In our laboratory, we are trying to formulate a cost-effective and patient compliant vaccine. By formulating oral and transdermal cancer vaccines we avoid any kind of injections. We were successful in retarding the tumor growth in vaccinated animals, as compared to animals that did not receive the vaccine."


Contact: Kimberly Brown
American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists

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