Accelerated vaccine development against emerging infectious diseases

Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center, Infectious Diseases Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital
Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics (Impact Factor: 2.37). 07/2012; 8(7):1010-2. DOI: 10.4161/hv.20805
Source: PubMed


Emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases represent a major challenge to vaccine development since it involves two seemingly contradictory requirements. Rapid and flexible vaccine generation while using technologies and processes that can facilitate accelerated regulatory review. Development in the "-omics" in combination with advances in vaccinology offer novel opportunities to meet these requirements. Here we describe how a consortium of five different organizations from academia and industry is addressing these challenges. This novel approach has the potential to become the new standard in vaccine development allowing timely deployment to avert potential pandemics.

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Available from: Pierre Regent Leblanc, Sep 27, 2015
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    ABSTRACT: Development of effective vaccines against emerging infectious diseases (EID) can take as much or more than a decade to progress from pathogen isolation/identification to clinical approval. As a result, conventional approaches fail to produce field-ready vaccines before the EID has spread extensively. Lassa is a prototypical emerging infectious disease endemic to West Africa for which no successful vaccine is available. We established the VaxCelerate Consortium to address the need for more rapid vaccine development by creating a platform capable of generating and pre-clinically testing a new vaccine against specific pathogen targets in less than 120 days. A self-assembling vaccine is at the core of the approach. It consists of a fusion protein composed of the immunostimulatory Mycobacterium tuberculosis heat shock protein 70 (MtbHSP70) and the biotin binding protein, avidin. Mixing the resulting protein (MAV) with biotinylated pathogen-specific immunogenic peptides yields a self-assembled vaccine (SAV). To meet the time constraint imposed on this project, we used a distributed R&D model involving experts in the fields of protein engineering and production, bioinformatics, peptide synthesis/design and GMP/GLP manufacturing and testing standards. SAV immunogenicity was first tested using H1N1 influenza specific peptides and the entire VaxCelerate process was then tested in a mock live-fire exercise targeting Lassa fever virus. We demonstrated that the Lassa fever vaccine induced significantly increased class II peptide specific interferon-γ CD4+ T cell responses in HLA-DR3 transgenic mice compared to peptide or MAV alone controls. We thereby demonstrated that our SAV in combination with a distributed development model may facilitate accelerated regulatory review by using an identical design for each vaccine and by applying safety and efficacy assessment tools that are more relevant to human vaccine responses than current animal models.
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    ABSTRACT: Computational vaccine design, also known as computational vaccinology, encompasses epitope mapping, antigen selection and immunogen design using computational tools. The iVAX toolkit is an integrated set of tools that has been in development since 1998 by De Groot and Martin. It comprises a suite of immunoinformatics algorithms for triaging candidate antigens, selecting immunogenic and conserved T cell epitopes, eliminating regulatory T cell epitopes, and optimizing antigens for immunogenicity and protection against disease. iVAX has been applied to vaccine development programs for emerging infectious diseases, cancer antigens and biodefense targets. Several iVAX vaccine design projects have had success in pre-clinical studies in animal models and are progressing towards clinical studies. The toolkit now incorporates a range of immunoinformatics tools for infectious disease and cancer immunotherapy vaccine design. This article will provide a guide to the iVAX approach to computational vaccinology.
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