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Modified vaccine shows promise in preventing malaria
Date:9/26/2011

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Those genetic agents, similar to chemical adjuvants, are stimulants that improve the ability of vaccines to induce beneficial immune responses in general.

In mouse models, the researchers used two such "gene-adjuvants": rEA and EAT-2, both of which aimed to illicit improved immune responses to the malaria CSP gene. Surprisingly, the rEA agent which was developed at MSU in part by the late Barnett Rosenberg did not produce the desired result and in fact seemed to worsen the animal's ability to generate an immune response to CSP.

However, the EAT-2 gene-adjuvant stimulated the immune system in a different way, and Amalfitano and his team were able to increase the ability of the immune system to respond to CSP to a level that surpassed currently available malaria vaccine systems.

"The results were surprising, but we were able to hit our goal eventually," he said. "This research will help us as we create a viable vaccine. While the way that rEA is trying to stimulate the immune system may not be the best way for malaria, we did come up with an alternative adjuvant to effectively target the parasite."

Amalfitano said the next step is to see if researchers can prevent malaria in animal models using the EAT-2 gene-adjuvant: "Then we can take the lessons learned and really go forward and do what's necessary to feel confident to begin human trials."


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Contact: Jason Cody
codyja@msu.edu
517-432-0924
Michigan State University
Source:Eurekalert  

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