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NIH awards La Jolla Institute $18.8 million for major infectious disease study
Date:12/17/2009

asures a major public health concern.

For the malaria component, Dr. Sette and his research team will work with Denise Doolan, principal investigator on the malaria contract, and her team at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research in Australia, who are collecting blood samples from people exposed to the disease in Papua New Guinea, in collaboration with colleagues at the Papua New Guinea Institute for Medical Research.

Dr. Sette's team will provide key epitope information that the Queensland group can use in testing the blood samples. "We've looked at the malaria genome and have made bioinformatics predictions on which epitopes we think the immune system may recognize in malaria," said Dr. Sette. "Since the Queensland researchers are using blood samples from people previously infected, their immune systems' will have "memory" of the malaria parasite and will react to synthesized epitope pieces from it. It will become apparent, based on various body indicators, which epitopes triggered a defensive reaction from the immune system. We think this will provide some very exciting data that we hope may be useful in developing a first-ever malaria vaccine."

Institute researchers used the expansive resources of the Immune Epitope Database (IEDB), a major public health tool developed and hosted by the La Jolla Institute under a contract with the NIAID, to develop the malaria epitope predictions. The IEDB contains epitope data on a multitude of diseases, including malaria.

Regarding the dengue virus study, Dr. Sette said the Institute's research will be propelled by key advances in animal modeling made by researcher Sujan Shresta, Ph.D., who is co-investigator on the dengue study. In 2008, Dr. Shresta developed the world's first dengue virus mouse model showing key aspects of human infection. "For a long time, the central question in the field was, "Do the T cells protect or do they contribute to dengue virus disease?'" sai
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Contact: Bonnie Ward
contact@liai.org
619-303-3160
La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology
Source:Eurekalert

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