Novel T Cell Antigen Discovery Platform Providing New Momentum on Malaria Vaccine
Overview of unique approach will be presented by Genocea Biosciences today at the World Vaccine Congress
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Apr 11, 2012 - Genocea Biosciences today announced that it will highlight new progress it is making toward the development of an effective vaccine for malaria during a presentation today at the World Vaccine Congress by Jessica Baker Flechtner, Ph.D., Vice President of Research. Dr. Flechtner's presentation will showcase the company's novel approach to discovering vaccine candidates derived from antigens that stimulate the T cell arm of the immune system.
If successful, the company's approach could produce a far more robust immune response than vaccine candidates that have been trialed so far, providing new hope of effectively addressing this devastating public health issue.
"Despite the community's best efforts to combat this global threat, there are still no viable candidate vaccines that provide robust immunity across a diverse population," noted Chip Clark, President and CEO. "Genocea is rapidly identifying and evaluating T cell antigens to create a vaccine that is both widely effective and can be produced on a broad scale."
To date, the most encouraging results in malaria vaccine development have come from vaccination with whole organisms, suggesting that liver immunity is critical to rousing a protective immune response, Flechtner said. However, traditional methods of identifying T cell antigens associated with this type of immunity are cumbersome and time consuming, and have yielded candidate vaccines that provide only partial protection. Genocea is able to use its proprietary technology platform—the AnTigen Lead Acquisition System (ATLAS™)—to profile human immune responses and quickly evaluate thousands of potential antigens to validate a small number of proteins appropriate for testing as vaccine candidates.
Genocea is currently employing this approach in malaria to investigate a subset of more than 800 proteins from the liver stage of infection to rapidly identify antigens that may be suitable vaccine candidates. Once the magnitude of T cell responses in humans has been measured, the most promising antigens will be incorporated into a vaccine formulation. This approach may result in both a more powerful immune response and a drastically reduced timeline to clinical testing.
Malaria is a serious, global public health issue—more than 350 million people worldwide contract the disease each year, and 3 million succumb to the illness annually, despite ongoing preventive measures. Development of a safe and effective vaccine to prevent or eradicate infection and symptoms is a critical priority of governments, foundations, and public health officials around the world, yet progress has been slow due to the complexity associated with the plasmodium parasite that causes the illness.
About Genocea Biosciences
Genocea Biosciences is harnessing the power of the T cell immunity to develop the next generation of vaccines. T cells are increasingly recognized as a critical element of a protective immune response to a wide range of infectious disease pathogens, but are difficult to target using traditional vaccine discovery methods. Genocea is uniquely able to identify and employ T cell antigens using its proprietary technology platform that mimics human immune response in the laboratory, potentially improving the effectiveness of vaccine candidates and drastically reducing the time needed to create them.
For more information, please visit the company's website at Genocea.com.
Contact: Feinstein Kean Healthcare
Krystle Ficco, 617-761-6702
Posted: April 2012