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New Biomarkers Study Could Lead to Better Malaria Vaccine Design
Date:4/27/2011

SEATTLE, April 27, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- In the first study of its type in the malaria field, Seattle BioMed has been awarded an $8.9 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to identify biomarkers that will allow malaria vaccine design based on robust predictors of protective immunity. Ruobing Wang, M.D., Ph.D., will lead the study – Seattle BioMed's first to include the integration of its recently announced systems biology approach to infectious disease research – with a team that includes Seattle BioMed's Stefan Kappe, Ph.D., and Alan Aderem, Ph.D., along with Patrick Duffy, M.D., of the National Institutes of Health, Jonathan Derry, Ph.D., of Sage Bionetworks, and Xiaowu Liang, Ph.D., of Antigen Discovery Inc. (ADi).

According to Wang, the goal of the study is to identify and validate biomarkers that correlate with vaccine-induced protective immunity against malaria infection. "In order to bring the burden of malaria under control – with the ultimate goal of eradicating the pathogens that cause disease – we know we need a highly efficacious anti-infection vaccine," she explained. "But, without reliable biomarkers of anti-infection immunity, the development and testing of malaria vaccines is a slow and expensive process." Biomarkers will be used for prediction and monitoring the vaccine efficacy in clinical trials and to select optimal vaccine candidates for development.

To conduct this research, Seattle BioMed will call upon its proven areas of expertise and knowledge – successful vaccine and immunology studies in animal models of malaria, the ability to grow human malaria parasites in mosquitoes for research and clinical studies, and its ability to develop genetically attenuated parasite strains for human trials. It will also begin full-scale trials in its Malaria Clinical Trials Center, and employ its newfound expertise in the area of systems biology.

Through Kappe's research, Seattle BioMe
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SOURCE Seattle Biomedical Research Institute
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