Scientific Program

Day 1

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
  • Successfully activating positive behaviors of the stakeholders involved in vaccine purchasing and usage through technological advances

    Virometix
    Switzerland
    Biography

    Pierre A. MORGON is Chief Executive Officer of MRGN Advisors, a consultancy dedicated to the healthcare sector, and Regional Partner for Switzerland at Mérieux Développement, an evergreen investment structure focused on medical devices, in vitro diagnostics and patient management services. Chairman of the Board of Virometix, a company developing proprietary synthetic nanoparticle platform in vaccines and immunotherapeutic drugs for viral diseases and cancer. He holds a Doctorate of Pharmacy, a Master in Business Law and a MBA. He is also an alumnus of INSEAD, IMD and MCE executive programs. Board positions: Non-Executive Director to the Board of Theradiag, a company focusing on in vitro diagnostics in auto-immunity, infectious diseases and allergy. Non-Executive Director to the Board of Eurocine Vaccines, a company dedicated to developing intra nasal vaccines.

    Abstract

    The vaccine segment is anticipated to be one of the fastest growing one of the healthcare industry and several leading firms have stepped up vaccine investments in recent years. Unlike therapeutic agents, vaccines are administered to healthy individuals only once or very infrequently during a life time. Vaccines generate well-documented positive externalities, yet their poor awareness and acceptability among vaccine end-users may contribute to resurgence of transmissible diseases and consequently trigger governmental interventions such as mandating vaccination. In addition to technical and clinical development per the highest quality standards, bringing new vaccines to market requires carefully orchestrated programs targeting the multiple types of stakeholders along the entire value chain and addressing their respective purchasing behavioral drivers. Against a backdrop of anti-vaccination buzz and vaccine fatigue, successful global launch and sustainable usage of a vaccine requires the development of a multi-pronged strategy addressing all aspects in relation to acceptability (e.g. the motivation to immunize despite the quasi-disappearance of the disease), accessibility (e.g. supply chain services), availability (e.g. mechanisms ensuring reliability of supply) and affordability (e.g. tiered pricing policy taking country differences in per capita income into account). Leveraging novel technological advances can positively influence the ability to activate these levers successfully

  • Challenges and Dilemmas about Vaccines against Epstein-Barr Virus and the Other Herpesviruses

    University of Grenoble-Alpes
    France
    Abstract

    Human Herpesviruses (HHV1-8) have co-evolved through a persistent infection in the host, spread efficiently to others, generally without causing serious disease. The complex interplay between host and virus has made it difficult to elaborate useful vaccine strategies to protect against the HHV-associated diseases. The Varicella-Zoster vaccine represents the paradigm of a successful Herpesvirus vaccine. This live-attenuated vaccine demonstrates unequivocally that it is possible to develop vaccines against these viruses. Over the years, the development of HHV vaccines has been a story of mixed fortunes, especially for HSV-2 and HCMV. However, studies carried out in various disease settings (i.e. transplant patients or pregnant women), have clearly emphasized the importance of cellular immunity and it is indeed encouraging to see that recent HHV vaccine (i.e. HCMV) development programs have started to incorporate this arm of the immune system. Nowadays, an array of arguments calls for a realistic goal for vaccine strategies which should be preventing HHV disease rather than HHV infection. It is particularly the case for the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV or HHV4) which is the primary cause of infectious mononucleosis and is associated with epithelial cell carcinomas, as well as lymphoid malignancies. One challenge is that the EBV expresses very different proteins during its lytic and its latent phases. To address this, vaccine candidates have been designed to include proteins from both phases. Here we review the history of EBV vaccine development and the current strategies in the development of new EBV vaccines: As EBV is associated with nearly 200,000 new malignancies each year worldwide, an EBV vaccine to prevent these diseases is really needed. Parallel to this need one could propose priorities for future research: (i) Identification of surrogate markers that predict the development of EBV-related malignancies. (ii) Definition of a goal for an EBV vaccine and criteria for licensure.

  • A live Attenuated Nasal Vaccine Against Pertussis

    French National Institute of Health and Medical Research
    France
    Biography

    Dr. Camille Locht holds currently a position as Research Director at the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm) and, since 2010, is the founding director of the Center for Infection and Immunity of Lille on the campus of the Institut Pasteur de Lille in France. He has obtained his PhD at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium in 1984. After a 3-years post-doctoral stay at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease in the USA, where he started to work on pertussis and cloned the pertussis toxin genes, he joined SmithKline – Beecham (now GSK) to help developing acellular pertussis vaccines. Since 1989 he is the head of a research laboratory at the Institut Pasteur de Lille, where he has been the Scientific Director from 2002 to 2013. His research interest is in molecular pathogenesis of respiratory infections, essentially pertussis and tuberculosis, with the long-term aim to develop new tools to combat these diseases. A very powerful molecular typing system for mycobacteria, invented in his laboratory has already reached the market, and a live attenuated nasal pertussis vaccine developed in his laboratory has now successfully completed phase I clinical trials and is currently in clinical development. He also has discovered a protective mycobacterial latency antigen, called heparin-binding haemagglutinin (HBHA), which is now in late stage pre-clinical development as an anti-tuberculosis vaccine candidate. He has authored more than 300 international publications, book chapters and patents and has obtained several research awards.

    Abstract

    Pertussis or whooping cough is making a dramatic comeback in several countries, especially since the switch from the first-generation whole-cell to the more recent acellular vaccines. The reasons for this resurgence are still under debate, but may essentially be due to unexpectedly fast waning of acellular vaccine-induced immunity and insufficient effectiveness of these vaccines to protect against infection by Bordetella pertussis, the principal causative agent of whooping cough, even though they protect effectively against pertussis disease. In order to ultimately control pertussis, new vaccines are necessary that protect both against the disease and B. pertussis infection. We have developed a live attenuated pertussis vaccine that can be administered by the nasal route. This vaccine, named BPZE1, has been shown to be safe in pre-clinical animal models, including severely immunocompromized mice, and to induce strong antibody and T cell responses. A single nasal dose of BPZE1 was able to protect mice against challenge with virulent B. pertussis, and protection was significantly longer lived than that induced by multiple administrations of acellular vaccines. In non-human primates, BPZE1 was also found to be safe and to protect against disease and infection caused by a highly virulent B. pertussis clinical isolate. BPZE1 has now successfully completed a phase I clinical trial in humans and was found to be safe in adults, to be able to colonize transiently the human respiratory tract and to induce immune responses in the colonized individuals. The vaccine is now undergoing further clinical development. Interestingly, in the course of the preclinical investigations, unexpected immunomodulatory properties or BPZE1 were uncovered. Without being immunosuppressive, BPZE1 appears to be anti-inflammatory and to protect mice against influenza virus-induced death, against experimental asthma and against experimental hypersensitivity of the skin, most probably linked to innate immune responses induced by the vaccine. Together with the protective effects against B. pertussis infection, these anti-inflammatory properties make BPZE1 an interesting tool for the benefit of public health, far beyond the control of pertussis.

  • The AFFITOPE-based approach: A novel and safe strategy for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases

    Director, Holy Family Red Crescent
    Bangladesh
    Biography

    Dr. Gergana Galabova heads the Neurodegeneration Department at AFFiRiS AG since January 2016. After completing her veterinary medical studies in 2000 in Bulgaria, she was awarded a three years postgraduate scholarship by the Austrian Agency for International Cooperation in Education and Research (ÖAD). In 2003, following her doctoral dissertation, she joined the Department of Microbiology, Immunobiology & Genetics at the University of Vienna as a Post Doctoral Research Fellow. Her research was focused on the in vivo and in vitro deciphering of the Raf/Mek/ERK pathway, and in particular, on the role of B-Raf in the myelination during postnatal central nervous system development. She has authored a number of scientific publications, patents, and a textbook chapter. In 2009 she joined the Research & Development team of AFFIRIS AG as a senior scientist. She brings a broad scientific expertise and overall experience in coordination of preclinical proof-of concept studies and their translation into clinical development.

    Abstract

    Despite intensive research and increasing understanding of the underlying pathology, neurodegenerative disorders, and in particular Alzheimer's- (AD) and Parkinson's (PD) disease are still categorized as chronic diseases with unmet medical needs. In the last two decades immunotherapy has been considered as novel and promising approach for their prevention and/or treatment. And in fact, a number of pre-clinical proof-of-concept studies (POCs) successfully demonstrated the potential of passive and active immunotherapy to interfere with the disease, especially in terms of disease modification and slowing the disease progression. Nevertheless, a complete and efficient translation of novel immunotherapies from animal models into human still faces a number of challenges. In addition, immunotherapy, especially the active vaccination against self-proteins, such as aBeta or aSynuclein, which are believed to play a crucial role in the disease onset (AD and PD, respectively), raises questions regarding potential autoimmunity. Thus, the development of active immunotherapy targeting self-proteins is still controversial. The AFFITOME® technology is an innovative solution to this problem. It gives the opportunity to avoid autoimmunity, despite targeting self-proteins by so called functional mimotopes or AFFITOPEs®. These are the antigenic vaccine components, which mimic the original epitopes of the target protein and are able to generate target specific antibodies. AFFITOPE®- and mimotope-induced antibodies are designed to bind preferentially to the aggregated pathological form of the target protein. AFFiRiS completed several Phase I studies in the field of neurodegeneration and confirmed the technology as safe. However, larger outcome studies are required for confirming the efficacy of the AFFITOPE®-based immunotherapy approach.

Novel Vaccines - Research and Development | Vaccination for Viral Diseases | Human Papillomavirus Infection | Cancer Vaccine and Cancer Immunotherapy| Vaccination for bacterial Diseases | Infants/Children Vaccines | Human Vaccines - Infectious & Non Infectious Diseases | Vaccination for Pregnancy and older people| Veterinary Vaccines | Plant-Based Vaccines
Speaker
  • A Novel Mechanism Linking Memory Stem Cells With Innate Immunity In Protection Against HIV-1 Infection
    Speaker
    Thomas Lehner
    Kings College London
    United Kingdom
    Biography

    Dr Thomas Lehner, Professor of Basic and Applied Immunology; London University. Qualifications: MB, BS London, MD London, FDS RCS, FRC Path, F Med Sci Prizes and Honours Besredka Prize of the Pasteur Institute, Lyon, France. Honorary Doctorate, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden Honorary Life President of the International Society for Behcet’s Disease Appointed Commander of the British Empire (CBE) Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine Selected International appointments Member of NIH (NIAID), Bethesda US Review Committee Research Grants 1999-2007. Member of Scientific Committee of the International Mucosal Immunology 1997-2006 Member of the Scientific Committee of the Institute of Virology of the University of Maryland (1998-2002). Research Career A total of 265 peer-reviewed papers published in scientific journals. Over the past 20 years research carried out in animals and humans, preventing HIV and SIV infections. Focussed on mucosal immunisation, generation of CC-chemokines, CCR5 coreceptors stress agents and alloimunisation. Major research grants from the MRC, NIH, European Union, Gates Foundation.

    Abstract

    HIV infection affects 37 million people and about 1.7 million are infected annually. Only the RV144 vaccine phase III clinical trial elicited significant protection against HIV-1 acquisition, but the efficacy and immune memory were inadequate. To boost these two critical functions of the vaccine we studied T stem cell memory (TSCM) and innate immunity. TSCM cells were identified by phenotypic markers of CD4+ Tcells and they were further characterised into 4 subsets. These consisted of IL-2/IL-15 receptors and APOBEC3G anti-viral restriction factors, which were upregulated, whereas CCR5 co-receptors and ?4?7 mucosal homing integrins were decreased. A parallel increase in CD4+ T cells was recorded of the IL-15 receptors, APOBEC3G and CC chemokines, with a decrease in CCR5 expression. We suggest a novel mechanism of dual memory stem cells; the established sequential memory pathway, TSCM ?Central ?Effector memory CD4+ T cells and the innate pathway consisting of the 4 subsets of TSCM. Both pathways are likely to be activated by endogenous HSP70, the hallmark of cellular stress. The memory stem cells and innate immunity pathways should be optimised to boost the efficacy and immune memory of protection against HIV-1. TSCM are likely to be activated by inducible HSP70, as PES (phenylethynesulphonamide), a small molecular inhibitor induced a dose-dependent inhibition of TSCM. The link between memory stem cells and innate immunity suggests a novel mechanism of inhibiting HIV-1 acquisition, by decreasing CCR5 and ?4?7, increasing IL-15/IL-2 receptors and HIV-1 restriction factors

  • Live-Recombinant Measles Virus Vaccine To Prevent Zika Virus Infection
    Speaker
    Sabrina Schrauf
    Themis Bioscience GmbH
    Austria
    Biography

    Sabrina Schrauf graduated as PhD from the University of Vienna in the fields of Virology where she worked on Flavivirusbiology (including Tick-borne encephalitis virus and West Nile virus). She joined Themis in 2015 to coordinate preclinical development of vaccines. (vaccine design and testing).

    Abstract

    Zika virus is an emerging mosquito-borne flavivirus. The virus emerged in the past 70 years only sporadically with self-limiting small outbreaks. In 2013, a large outbreak in French Polynesia resulted in over 30.000 cases. Since early 2015 Zika virus spread in the Americas and to date caused autochthonous, vector-borne transmission in 48 countries and territories. This rapid emergence of the previously unknown pathogen raised the urgent need for a vaccine that can be rapidly produced in response to a newly emerging pathogen. Themis took the challenge and developed a vaccine candidate from design to Phase 1 clinical trial within 14 months. The MV-ZIKA vaccine candidate is a live attenuated recombinant viral vectored vaccine for the prophylaxis of Zika virus infection. The measles virus (MV) Schwarz vaccine strain was used as the backbone into which nucleotide sequences encoding Zika virus structural proteins glycoprotein precursor (prM) and the Envelope (E) were inserted to produce the MV-ZIKA. In measles virus susceptible mice, single or multiple vaccinations with MV-ZIKA induced a robust protective immunity, as shown by the induction of ZIKV E protein specific antibodies. The immunization of Cynomologus macaques resulted in the induction of Zika virus neutralizing antibodies in all vaccinated animals. To evaluate the optimal dose of MV-ZIKA in regard to immunogenicity, safety, and tolerability we initiated a double blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled, multi-center, phase 1 trial in 48 healthy volunteer subjects. The subjects will receive one or two vaccinations. The immunogenicity as confirmed by the presence of functional antibodies will be determined on day 28 after the second immunization. The clinical trial is currently ongoing and preliminary data will be presented here.

  • Measles Vector Vaccine Platform As An Effective Tool To Prevent Chikungunya Virus Infection
    Speaker
    Katrin Ramsauer
    Themis Bioscience GmbH
    Austria
    Biography

    Katrin Ramsauer (F), Head of preclinical and clinical development. Katrin Ramsauer graduated as PhD from the University of Vienna in the fields of Microbiology and Immunology. Since then she was working as a Post Doc at the Department of Virology in Vienna followed by a Post Doc in early Vaccines development at Novartis Vaccines in Cambridge, MA (USA). She joined Themis in 2010 to support the chikungunya vaccine project development at pre-clinical stage and was later leading the phase 1 clinical trial and regulatory interactions regarding ongoing and planned vaccine projects. Dr. Ramsauer is the author of several peer reviewed scientific papers and co-inventor on several patents.

    Abstract

    Themis’ is developing a safe, effective and affordable preventive vaccine platform against priority pathogen diseases that have the potential to cause epidemics such as Chikungunya or Zika virus infection by using a “plug-and play” vaccine technology. This technology is based on a measles vaccine vector (MV) that can be easily genetically modified to express immunoprotective proteins for designated emerging infectious pathogens. This delivery platform technology has already demonstrated proof of principle in humans through a Phase 1 clinical trial in 42 healthy volunteers with a recombinant measles vaccine against Chikungunya virus (MV-CHIK). We showed that the vaccine was well tolerated. One immunization induced functional, neutralizing antibodies in up to 90% of immunized subjects, a second immunization induced 100% seroconversion. Importantly, immunogenicity was independent of pre-existing anti-vector (measles) immunity. We show here a Phase 2 clinical trial to demonstrate the vaccine vector safety and immunogenicity in up to 300 subjects. Preliminary findings point at excellent safety and immunogenicity profile in the two doses tested. Data are currently under final evaluation and auditing, and will be presented here.

Day 2

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
  • Targeted Vaccination and Intrinsic Adjuvant Function: Next Generation Checkpoint Control

    OncoQR ML GmbH
    Austria
    Biography

    Dr. Geert C. Mudde received a Ph.D. in immunology from the University of Utrecht in 1985 and started his international professional career at the Swiss Institute for Asthma and Allergy Research in Davos in 1989. In 1992 he joined the pharmaceutical/biotech industry, where he held several senior management positions at the Novartis Research Institute in Vienna, Austria, the Parke Davis Research Institute in Fresnes, France, Ingenium Pharmaceuticals, Martinsried, Germany, and at igeneon AG, Vienna, Austria. Finally, in 2006, while joining Baxter BioScience in Vienna as interim manager, Dr. Mudde co-founded the biotech company f-star Biotechnology, where he served as “Chief Scientific Officer” from 2007 to 2009. In 2009, together with Christof Langer, he started to develop the S-TIR™ technology platform for human specific therapeutic vaccines which led to the foundation of S-TARget therapeutics GmbH in 2010. Since then he serves as CSO and managing director for S-TARget therapeutics as well as for the S-TIR™ technology spin-off companies OncoQR ML GmbH and TYG oncology Ltd., which were both founded in 2013

    Abstract

    Using the S-TIR™ technology platform for human specific therapeutic vaccines OncoQR ML has developed two prototype vaccines for treatment of pancreatic cancer (TYG100) and breast cancer (OQR200). Vaccines derived from this platform consist of 2 modules, the disease specific module, “immunogen” and the generic module, “warhead”, which directs the vaccines to CD32 on antigen presenting cells, especially pDCs and B cells. The immunogen in oncology is a tumor associate auto-antigen, against which under normal conditions no clinically relevant immune responses can be induced. However, in combination with the warhead, thanks to intrinsic check point control, the immune system generates very strong and rapid antibody and T cell immune responses. The responses are reversible and boostable, thus allowing fine-tuning of the clinical responses on a patient to patient basis. S-TIR™ vaccines in contrast to the current checkpoint inhibitors do not induce autoimmune disease and are tumor specific while mobilizing both arms of the immune system against the tumor

  • Tumor Liberated Protein (TLP) as Potential Vaccine for Lung Cancer {Patients

    Foundation de Beaumont Bonelli for cancer research
    Italy
    Biography

    Giulio Tarro graduated from Medicine School, Naples University (1962). Research Associate, Division of Virology and Cancer Research, Children’s Hospital (1965-1968), Assistant Professor of Research Pediatrics, College Medicine (1968-1969), Cincinnati University, Ohio. Oncological Virology Professor, Naples University (1972-1985). Chief Division Virology (1973-2003), Head Department Diagnostic Laboratories, (2003-2006). D. Cotugno Hospital for Infectious Diseases, Naples; Emeritus, 2006 -. Since 2007 Chairman Committee of Biotechnologies and VirusSphere, World Academy Biomedical Technologies, UNESCO, Adjunct Professor Department Biology, Temple University, College of Science and Technology, Philadelphia, recipient of the Sbarro Health Research Organization lifetime achievement award (2010). His researches have been concerned with the characterization of specific virus-induced tumour antigens, which were the "finger-prints" left behind in human cancer. Achievements include patents in field; discovery of Respiratory Syncytial Virus in infant deaths in Naples and of tumor liberated protein as a tumor associated antigen, 55 kilodalton protein overexpressed in lung tumors and other epithelial adenocarcinomas.

    Abstract

    Tumor liberated protein (TLP) has been previously described as a TAA (complex) present in the sera from lung cancer patients with early stage disease. Since early detection improves overall survival in lung cancer, identification of screening biomarkers for patients at risk for the development of this disease represents an important target. Starting from the peptide epitope RTNKEASI previously isolated from TLP complexes, we generated a rabbit anti-RTNKEASI serum. This antiserum detected and immunoprecipitated a 55kDa protein band in the lysate of the lung cancer cell line A549. This protein band was identified as aldehyde dehydrogenase isoform 1A1 through mass spectrometry, revealing the molecular nature of at least one component of the previously described TLP complex. Next, we screened a cohort of 29 lung cancer patients (all histologies), 17 patients with non-neoplastic lung pathologies and 9 healthy donors for the presence of serum ALDH1A1 and global serum ALDH by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. This analysis indicated that the presence of ALDH was highly restricted to patients with lung cancer. Interestingly, the global ALDH test detected more lung cancer patients compared to the ALDH1A1-specific test, suggesting that other ALDH isoforms might add to the sensitivity of the assay. Our data suggest that ALDH levels may therefore be evaluated as part of a marker panel for lung cancer screening. Finally, the ability of the immune system to recognize a TAA, enables the development of a vaccine approach for preventive and therapeutic application and represents a main target of this field of research.

  • A Novel Lyme Borreliosis Vaccine Protecting Against All Major Borrelia Infections

    Valneva Austria GmbH
    Austria
    Abstract

    Lyme borreliosis (LB) or Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease in the northern hemisphere and at present there is no vaccine available to prevent infections. Recent analyses showed that the number of infections in the US and Europe are largely underreported, emphasizing the need for an effective vaccine. An OspA based vaccine (LYMErix™) was previously shown to be efficacious against disease caused by the most prevalent B. burgdorferi in the US. In Europe, the majority of LB cases are caused by four different Borrelia species expressing six different OspA serotypes. Since Outer surface protein A (OspA) is one of the dominant antigens expressed by the spirochetes when present in the tick vector we have developed a vaccine for global use, consisting only of the C-terminal part of OspA which is sufficient for protection. In order to target the Borrelia species expressing the six different OspA serotypes prevalent in US and Europe, we have designed a multivalent OspA-based vaccine (VLA15), including three proteins, each containing the C-terminal half of two OspA serotypes linked to form a single fusion protein. The OspA fusion proteins were at least 85% triacylated which ensured high immunogenicity and were highly purified for further preclinical testing. Active immunization with the adjuvanted Lyme borreliosis vaccine VLA15 protected mice from a challenge with spirochetes expressing either OspA serotype 1, 2, 4, 5 or 6, using infected ticks or in vitro grown bacteria as a challenge. Further immunological analyses (ELISA, surface binding and growth inhibition) indicated that the vaccine can provide protection against the majority of human pathogenic Borrelia species, including OspA serotype 3. This rational designed VLA15 vaccine was therefore prepared for evaluation in a first-in-man study which is currently ongoing.

Clinical Trials in Animals Models | Side Effects of Vaccines | Vaccine Design-Immunoinformatics | Advances in Vaccine Delivery Technologies | Vaccination for Vector-borne Diseases | Vaccines for Neurodegenerative Disorder | Do Vaccines cause Autism? | Public Health Issues in Vaccines | Vaccines for International Traveller and Tropical diseases | Epidemiology of Vaccines
Speaker
  • Vaccines Against Infectious Diseases
    Speaker
    Ivana Haluskova
    French society of immunology
    France
    Biography

    Medical and cosmopolitan professional specialised in infectious diseases, internal medicine covering various therapeutic axes, certified in Immunology and Pediatric, MBA vaccinology and years of clinical practise contributing to bring innovative science and diplomacy for global health. Lived multi-country medical “field “experience in Southeast Asia (India in particular), West/Central/East Europe. Speaking French, English, Russian, Italian, Czech, Slovak with notion of Mandarin. Over 15 years of experience in pharmaceutical research and development for European and USA companies (Director of R&D for new delivery platforms focused on children and elderly) for various therapeutic areas for adults and children including neurodegenerative diseases, infectious diseases, metabolic diseases and orphan indications. Active member of French immunology society (SFI) administrative board and several international academic societies (focus on innovation of R&D reflecting immunology and genetic variability, role of immunologic approach for treatment and diagnostic, tackle problem of resistance for antimicrobials, antimalarial, antivirals etc). Member of advisory Health concern (India) and think tank group in order to attract attention to role of immunology, personalised and preventive medicine and accurate diagnostic and global cooperation in this area. Years of expertise to work globally within Europe, USA but recently more focused on BRICS - Asia (India in Particular) as a Medical advisor bringing new innovative concepts alive and getting them endorsed.

    Abstract

    A vaccine is a biological preparation that improves immunity to a particular microorganism. Accurate diagnostic and surveillance with better understanding of genetic and immunologic background of host specific response and pathogen evolution drives adapted vaccine research. AMR (antimicrobial) resistance is regarded nowdays as a major threat to global public health. The issue is receiving high-level political attention (G7 summit and upcoming G20 for first time). Pandemics, drug resistance and neglected diseases framing health as a “global security issue”. WHO drawn up a list to promote research and development (R&D) of new antibiotics (27th Feb 2017) underlining gram-negative bacteria. Although initially omitted from the list, tuberculosis and latent tuberculosis represent still a major issue to tackle. XDR tuberculosis has evolved in several tuberculosis endemic countries to drug incurable or programmatically incurable tuberculosis. BCG vaccine successfully helped to interrupt transmission cycle and along with antibiotic discovery to decrease mortality. However, its efficacy remains controversial. HIV/AIDS has known link with tuberculosis but other risk factors have also emerged in recent years as important determinants of the TB epidemic, one of which is diabetes mellitus. Risk or new emerging and re-emerging pathogens originated from animals after having crossed the species barrier (e.g Ebola) and re-appearance of “old diseases” like pertussis, measles and known limitations of drugs underline need for innovative vaccines as highly potent tool to tackle resistance and valuable alternative from long term perspective being clearly recognized as a major tool for public health.

  • Harnessing The Immunogenicity Of Viral Proteins For Designing Novel Cancer Dna Vaccines
    Speaker
    Gaelle Vandermeulen
    University of Louvain
    Belgium
    Biography

    Gaëlle Vandermeulen is a senior postdoctoral researcher at the University of Louvain. After completing a Master's degree in Pharmacy, she joined the Advanced Drug Delivery and Biomaterials group at the Louvain Drug Research Institute of the University of Louvain (UCL). Her PhD work was part of a European project and she spent several months at the Université Paris Descartes. She completed a PhD on skin DNA electroporation in 2008 and performed a postdoctoral stay focused on HIV DNA vaccine at the Royal Holloway University of London. She aims to develop novel delivery systems for nucleic acid-based drugs, with a particular focus on DNA vaccine

    Abstract

    Harnessing the power of the immune system to destroy or prevent cancers is a highly attractive strategy and a unique approach to cancer therapy. Competitive advantages of cancer vaccines are exquisite specificity, low toxicity, and the potential for a durable treatment effect due to immunologic memory but their development is challenging due to the low immunogenicity of tumor antigens. As it is the case for cancer, a proper activation of cytotoxic T cells is necessary to clear infection by killing virus-infected cells. For that purpose, the immune system is able to detect and eliminate certain viral threats. We aim to investigate if the expression of specific viral proteins could similarly promote cancer immunization. DNA vaccine is a simple, versatile and clinically applicable method that could greatly benefit from such a strategy. We first demonstrated that the co-administration of a plasmid encoding the HIV-1 Gag viral capsid protein enhanced the efficacy of melanoma DNA vaccine. It favored antigen-specific Th1 immunity, delayed B16F10-OVA tumor growth and improved mouse survival in both prophylactic and therapeutic vaccination approaches. Similarly, a prophylactic DNA immunization against the melanoma-associated antigen gp100 was enhanced. Safety and immunogenicity of pGag have been demonstrated in human in the context of HIV vaccine development. Its use as a genetic adjuvant is thus of particular interest from a translational point of view. We then engineered the vesicular stomatitis virus G glycoprotein as permissive insertion sites allowed T-epitope insertions. Inclusion of either ovalbumin MHC class I or MHC class II restricted epitopes induced the proliferation of specific CD8+ and CD4+ T cells, respectively. The cytotoxic T-cell response was high when the two plasmids were co-delivered allowing a protective therapeutic effect against B16F10-OVA tumor.

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