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Whole-parasite malaria vaccine shows promise in University of Maryland School of Medicine clinical trial
Date:9/9/2011

For the first time, a malaria vaccine that uses the entire malaria parasite has proven safe and shown promise to produce a strong immune response in a clinical trial, according to a new study co-authored by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine Center for Vaccine Development. The vaccine is unique in that it employs the entire malaria parasite, while most experimental malaria vaccines consist of just one or at most a few proteins found in the parasite. Researchers found that the vaccine the first whole parasite vaccine to be approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration for clinical trials could provide unprecedented immune responses against malaria when administered intravenously. The study was published online in the journal Science this week (www.sciencexpress.org).

"This is the first whole organism malaria vaccine ever produced," says Kirsten Lyke, M.D., associate professor of medicine and a research scientist at the Center for Vaccine Development at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Dr. Lyke was one of three lead authors and two senior authors on the study, along with colleagues from the U.S. Military Malaria Vaccine Program at the Naval Medical Research Center, the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Rockville-based biotechnology firm Sanaria, Inc., which developed and manufactured the vaccine.

"No vaccine has completely protected against malaria in a challenge trial, in which vaccinated volunteers are subjected to the bite of an infected mosquito to measure their immunity," says Dr. Lyke. "This vaccine showed strong promise. We hope that with further study it could help revolutionize the field and prevent death and illness from malaria worldwide, and be used to eliminate malaria from certain areas."

Though malaria has been largely eliminated in much of the developed world, it is still a widespread th
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Contact: Karen Robinson
karobinson@som.umaryland.edu
410-706-7590
University of Maryland Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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