NEW YORK, May 8, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Human Vaccines Project, a nonprofit public-private partnership focused on decoding the immune system to improve human health, announced today the initial enrollment of its first clinical trial in a new program aimed at dramatically increasing knowledge of how the immune system works. The study is the first step in a series of trials, with the goal of engineering the human immune system to confer lifelong protection from infectious and non-communicable diseases across global populations.
"While vaccines are among the greatest successes in the history of public health, we do not fully understand how most vaccines work and why some are less effective in certain populations," said Wayne C. Koff, Ph.D., president and CEO of the Human Vaccines Project. "Determining the core principles of how the human immune system recognizes pathogens and fights diseases will enable a more precise approach for developing vaccines and immunotherapies for a wide range of diseases such as AIDS, tuberculosis, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and cancer."
The initial study will assess immune responses of 10 healthy adults (ages 40-80) to a licensed hepatitis B vaccine. It will feature one of the most comprehensive analyses of how people respond to vaccinations to learn why some individuals are protected from a single dose, while others are not. The study will expand to include several hundred people – from neonates to the elderly in middle and low-income countries.
"Developing a better understanding of why some groups of people are protected from disease is a goal that simply must be achieved," said Co-Principal Investigator Tobias Kollmann, M.D., Ph.D., professor of pediatrics at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and an investigator at the Vaccine Evaluation Center in Vancouver, Canada. "The licensed hepatitis B vaccine, which only works in about 30 percent of people on the first shot, is an ideal model vaccine to study general principles of human immunological protection because it is one of the few vaccines for which we know how it protects."
The study will take place at the at the Vaccine Evaluation Center, in Vancouver, Canada, and will be augmented by extensive immunological and bioinformatic analyses at the Project's San Diego Mesa Consortium, which includes the J. Craig Venter Institute, the La Jolla Institute, The Scripps Research Institute, and UC San Diego, with clinical coordination by the Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research.
"With technological advances in biomedical, computational and engineering sciences, we have an unprecedented opportunity to decipher the immune system's components and core principles required to generate long-lasting immunity against disease, and usher in a new era of global health," added Stanley Plotkin, M.D., Chairman of the Human Vaccines Project's Board of Directors.
About the Human Vaccines Project| The Human Vaccines Project is a nonprofit public-private partnership with a mission to decode the human immune system to accelerate the development of vaccines and immunotherapies against major infectious diseases and cancers. The Project brings together leading academic research centers, industrial partners, nonprofits and governments to address the primary scientific barriers to developing new vaccines and immunotherapies. Support and funding for the Project includes the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, GSK, Illumina, MedImmune, Sanofi Pasteur, Crucell/Janssen, Regeneron, Pfizer, Moderna, Boehringer Ingelheim, Aeras, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, UC San Diego, The Scripps Research Institute, J. Craig Venter Institute and La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology. To learn more, visit www.humanvaccinesproject.org.
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