CLEVELAND December 20, 2007 Researchers at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicines Center for Global Health & Diseases published data potentially impacting the three billion people exposed to malaria every year. Brian T. Grimberg, Ph.D., Peter A. Zimmerman, Ph. D., and Christopher L. King, M.D., Ph.D. published in the December issue of Public Library of Science Medicine (PLoS Medicine), novel findings proving new antibodies inhibit infection by the Plasmodium vivax (P. vivax) malaria parasite. The research suggests a Duffy binding protein-based vaccine could provide protection against malaria blood-stage infection. This specific protein is an attractive candidate for a P. vivax vaccine, as it could decrease illness in malaria prevalent regions. For the first time, scientists from the eight partner institutions along with the Center for Global Health & Diseases, conclusively proved that invasion of human red blood cells by the malaria parasite could be prevented by these antibodies.
Unlike other types of malaria, a P. vivax infection relies solely upon the single molecular interaction between the Duffy antigen on human red blood cells and the Duffy binding protein expressed by the parasite to establish the disease. By interrupting the interaction of parasite binding to the red cell, the researchers and their colleagues around the United States and in Papua New Guinea, India, and Thailand, have the potential to eliminate P. vivax malaria. By exploiting this required interaction, the research offers a clear path toward development of a P. vivax malaria vaccine.
James W. Kazura, M.D., Director of the Center for Global Health and Diseases at Case Western Reserve University emphasized P. vivax is widely distributed throughout Asia, the South Pacific, parts of Africa, and South America. However, the importance of developing a P. vivax vaccine to the American public is underscored by the fact that this is the form of malaria most fr
|Contact: Jessica Studeny|
Case Western Reserve University