AmpVacs a Broadly Protective Synthetic Influenza A Vaccine

AMSTERDAM, March 2 /CNW/ - Sanquin Blood Supply Foundation, the Netherlands Cancer Institute, and the Netherlands Vaccine Institute announce today the launch of their joint AmpVacs project aiming at the development of a broadly protective synthetic influenza A vaccine component that in combination with classical antibody-stimulating vaccines will induce protection against future influenza A threats.

The preclinical research phase of the project is funded by the Joint Call initiative of the three Dutch Public Private Partnerships, the BioMedical Materials (BMM) program, the Centre for Translational Molecular Medicine (CTMM) and Top Institute Pharma (TI Pharma), focussing on the interface of the three institutes: Imaging Guided and Targeted Drug Delivery. Fifty percent of the total funding budget of 4.2 million euro is provided by the Dutch government, with the remaining fifty percent being provided by the consortium partners.

Influenza A infections remain a substantial health threat, as revealed by the significant annual influenza A-related morbidity and mortality. Both the preparation for influenza A pandemic and the consequences of such a pandemic when manifested cause substantial socio-economical costs. Protection afforded by traditional influenza A vaccines is mediated in large part by antibodies. In contrast, induction of cytotoxic T cells, the other effector arm of the adaptive immune system is highly inefficient. Notably, efficient induction of cytotoxic T cell responses would be highly attractive, as contrary to the molecular structures recognized by antibodies, the structures recognized by cytotoxic T cells are in large part conserved between different influenza A subtypes.

Based on this notion and the proven protective effect of cytotoxic T cells on influenza A infection in preclinical models, the AmpVacs Vaccine consortium will develop an innovative fully synthetic influenza A vaccine component. To achieve this aim, the consortium will build on in-house technologies developed by the partners. Specifically, the consortium will make use of T cell imaging technology developed by one of the partners for the generation of a database of T cell epitopes. This database will then be utilized for the development and evaluation of a fully synthetic influenza A vaccine component, using specific formulation technology of the partners. Thus, the central aim of the consortium is to develop a broadly protective synthetic influenza A vaccine component that in combination with classical antibody-stimulating vaccines will induce protection against future influenza A threats. Notably, the development of the multiplexed T cell imaging technology for the diagnostics of human immune function that this project will achieve will form a major fringe benefit of the project that will be of broad value for future vaccine design.

About Sanquin Blood Supply Foundation

Sanquin Blood Supply Foundation (with its headquarters in Amsterdam, the Netherlands) is an internationally reputed organization in the field of blood banking and immuno-hematological research. Sanquin has a track record in bringing therapeutic proteins, and in vitro diagnostic and research products to the market and is successfully distributing a substantial product portfolio covering these fields on the international market.

About the Netherlands Cancer Institute

The Netherlands Cancer Institute - Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital (NKI-AVL), of which Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands is patron, consists of a scientific research laboratory and a specialized clinic. Since its foundation in 1913, its primary objective has been to combat cancer by combining patient care, research and education. The staff's ambition is to make a real contribution to solving the problem of cancer thanks to the unique interaction between scientific research and clinical application that is woven into the fabric of the organization.

About the Netherlands Vaccine Institute

The Netherlands Vaccine Institute (NVI) in Bilthoven reflects more than 100 years of extensive knowledge and experience gained through research and production of vaccines. The NVI is an agency responsible to the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. It guarantees the supply of vaccines necessary to protect the Dutch population against infectious diseases. The vaccines are used both in the regular National Immunisation Programmes and for emergency vaccination campaigns.

SOURCE SANQUIN BLOOD SUPPLY FOUNDATION

For further information: For further information: Contacts: AmpVacs project, Ron van Eijk PhD, Principal investigator, Tel: +31-20-5123240, e-mail: r.vaneijk@sanquin.nl; Sanquin Blood Supply Foundation, Mr. Robert Heckert, Manager Communication, Tel: +31-20-5123771, e-mail: r.heckert@sanquin.nl; The Netherlands Cancer Institute, Ms Danielle Cardozo, Manager Communication, Tel: +31-20-5122867, e-mail: d.cardozo@nki.nl; The Netherlands Vaccine Institute, Ms Margit Govers, Manager Communication, Tel: +31-30-2744182, e-mail: Margit.Govers@nvi-vaccin.nl

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