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

d scientists have developed genetically attenuated whole parasite vaccine strains that have proven successful in rodent malaria models and have moved into human studies. "In this new study, we will use genetically attenuated parasite strains as probes to determine whether host correlates of immunity can be identified during vaccination in mice," Kappe explained. "These model vaccines provide an opportunity to discriminate biomarkers associated with complete, long-lasting protection from those associated with partial, short-lived or lack of protection."

Researchers at Seattle BioMed will then apply the knowledge gained in mouse models to human studies. "Through studies conducted at Seattle BioMed's Malaria Clinical Trials Center, we'll evaluate whether biomarkers of protection identified in the rodent models will predict protective immunity in humans," explained Wang.

Applying Aderem's expertise in the field of systems biology to malaria research will be a key component of this project. Seattle BioMed researchers will employ network analysis of transcriptional responses to predict protection in both mice and humans to determine if they can find universal markers that will allow them to optimize vaccine candidates. According to Aderem, the power of systems biology lies in its capacity to predict the behavior of a biological system.  "If we have the ability to predict whether a vaccine candidate for malaria will work before it goes into large scale clinical trials, we could move away from today's typical 'trial and error' method toward a more powerful predictive approach to vaccine discovery and development," he said.

Through these integrated studies, Seattle BioMed researchers will deliver a set of candidate immune biomarkers associated with protection against malaria infection that can be used for monitoring vaccine efficacy. "This will facilitate future malaria vaccine trials with the ultimate goal of accelerating the development of a highl
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SOURCE Seattle Biomedical Research Institute
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