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HJF enters cooperative agreement to develop vaccine for staph infections

ROCKVILLE, MD, (Dec. 17, 2008)The Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Inc. (HJF) has entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) and Maryland-based Nabi Biopharmaceuticals to develop a vaccine that could prevent life-threatening staph infections.

HJF researchers at USU's Infectious Disease Clinical Research Program will work with Nabi scientists to develop a licensed pentavalent Staphylococcus aureus vaccine to prevent skin and soft tissue infection.

The CRADA proposes a series of clinical trials for Nabi's PentaStaph, a five-component vaccine that induces antibodies to target S. aureus capsular polysaccharides Types 5, 8 and the cell wall antigen Type 336, which enhances the immune system's ability to clear bacteria from the host.

PentaStaph also induces antibodies that target two of the most predominant and virulent toxins produced by the bacteria, Panton-Valentine Leukocidinfound predominantly in community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureusand alpha toxin, produced by almost all S. aureus isolates. Those toxins can significantly debilitate the human immune system.

The first clinical trial will evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of the compounds designed to target Panton-Valentine Leukocidin and alpha toxin. The second will evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of the other three components of the vaccine. The third trial will evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of all five components.

"S. aureus infections adversely impact many active duty members and several phases of military operations, in addition to the well-being of U.S. citizens," said Dr. David Tribble, director of general infectious disease research at IDCRP. "We believe that investigating vaccine-based strategies is critical to prevent these common and serious infections both in military and civilian settings."


Contact: JoAnn Sperber
Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine

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