"Our group will define the basic mechanisms by which naturally occurring antibodies kill Ebola and Marburg viruses," said Crowe, who directs the Vanderbilt Vaccine Center. "This study on how antibodies recognize and kill filoviruses will point the way toward rational vaccine design and testing.
"The research tools we are using, human monoclonal antibodies derived from the blood cells of naturally infected human survivors, also can be developed as prevention and treatment biologic medicines that could be used in the field," he said.
The center will conduct three interdependent research projects, supported by the Galveston National Laboratory at UTMB, a facility with the highest level containment required to safely work with deadly viruses, biosafety level four. UTMB has the only operational BSL-4 laboratory on a university campus in the United States.
"We look forward to combining our vaccines with both Tekmira's therapeutics and the antibodies developed at Vanderbilt," said Eldridge, chief science officer of Profectus' vaccine division. "Ebola and Marburg are both highly pathogenic, rapidly progressing infections with narrow windows for intervention. We are confident a combined approach will be more successful for treating these infections."
All the investigators are involved with a variety of patents related to the development of countermeasures against infectious diseases.
|Contact: Raul Reyes|
University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston