These findings were published in an advance online edition of the journal, Vaccine, and the paper was published today, in the March 8th issue.
While most vaccines contain live micro-organisms, the 'minicell' vaccine studied mimics the live pathogen response without any risk of infection, making it particularly useful for immunizing children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems. Additionally, the minicell vaccine is able to counter many infectious diseases in a cost-effective and efficient manner, and could solve serious infectious disease problems in developing countries.
"We have found a vaccine delivery method that has an advantage over other non-living vaccines in that the minicells stimulate all elements of the immune system that are required to protect people against infectious diseases," said Kathleen McGuire, SDSU biology professor and co-author of the paper.
In the study, the SDSU team created a vaccine against the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV), which causes a lethal form of meningitis in mice. The minicell vaccine protected 89 percent of immunized mice from death.
"Through this research, we've been able to create a platform technology that we hope will translate into many vaccine formulations," said Vaxiion's Matt Giacalone, study co-author and a 2006 graduate of SDSU's joint MBA/Ph.D. program.
Research funding was primarily provided by Vaxiion, a biotechnology company founded by SDSU biology professor Roger Sabbadini. He also served as co-author on the study.
"Based on the success of this translational work, Vaxiion is developing a multi-component vacc ine against Salmonella, Shigella and E. coli for use in human clinical trials," Sabbadini said.
Other co-authors of the study include Yen-Lin Chu of SDSU; Neil L. Berkley, co-founder of Vaxiion Therapeutics Inc. who received both M.S. and MBA degrees at SDSU; and Maria Salvato and Juan C. Zapata with the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute.
Vaxiion Therapeutics Inc. is dedicated to the intelligent design of effective vaccines and vaccine carrier technologies. Recent acts of bioterrorism, the emergence of new infectious diseases, and the development of multi-drug resistance in many types of human pathogens have spurred the demand for innovative vaccine approaches. Vaxiion's use of genetically engineered non-living bacterial minicells to deliver a multitude of protein antigens and DNA vaccines is just that...An innovative and compelling solution that promises to have broad applications against a variety of pathogens and disease indications. For more information, please visit www.vaxiion.com.
For a copy of the study, please contact Lorena Nava, with SDSU Marketing & Communications, at (619) 594-3952 or (619) 309-5179 (cell) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vaxiion Therapeutics, Inc.
Matt Giacalone, Ph.D., M.B.A.