WASHINGTON, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers say a vaccine based on genetically engineered DNA could induce an immune response in humans to protect against malaria parasite infection.
The PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative and Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc. announced a partnership to combine DNA research aimed at developing malaria vaccines with an innovative vaccine delivery technology called electroporation.
Electroporation uses controlled electrical impulses to create temporary pores in a cell membrane, allowing uptake of the synthetic DNA that then causes the cell to produce proteins mimicking the presence of the malaria pathogen. The goal is to induce an immune response that provides protection against malaria, a deadly disease that still kills more than 500,000 children under age 5 every year, a PATH MVI release reported Monday.
"We are excited to bring this innovative delivery technology into clinical testing to see whether the compelling immune responses seen in animal models translate to humans," Dr. David C. Kaslow, director of MVI, said. "Determining if and how these potent immune responses lead to protection against infection with the most deadly form of malaria is a high priority in our efforts to develop a next generation malaria vaccine."
MVI is a global program established with an initial grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, conducting research to accelerate the development of malaria vaccines for the developing world.