The three diseases targeted by these viruses are West Nile virus, Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (a relative of lassa fever virus, known to cause hemorrhagic fever in Africa) and vaccinia virus (widely known for its previous use in the smallpox vaccine.)
An Oregon-based biotech company, Najt Technologies, Inc., is hoping that these advances in vaccine technology will result not only in new vaccines but also new jobs in the Portland area.
"This new approach really gives a boost to an area of vaccine development that's been stagnant for some time," said Ian Amanna, Ph.D., associate vice president for research at Najt Technologies.
"Because of these advances, we've been increasing our workforce and putting together a group of very talented researchers. In partnership with OHSU, we're excited to have the opportunity to further develop this technology into commercial vaccines that can offer protection for at-risk individuals. These vaccines will not only be important to international travelers, but also to the people living in endemic regions. These places are often in developing countries with limited resources for preparing and testing life-saving vaccines and we are looking forward to the day that we can bring these new vaccines to the countries that need them the most."
Najt Technologies, founded by Slifka and colleagues using methods first discovered at OHSU, hopes to continue working together with academic institutions such as OHSU, ONPRC, and Washington University-St. Louis to create new and better vaccines for some of the world's biggest problems including West Nile virus, yellow fever and dengue hemorrhagic fever.
|Contact: Jim Newman|
Oregon Health & Science University