VP of Operations for a start-up life sciences firm working in the area of human health. VP of Research came with a scientific breakthrough and the job is to plan an intellectual property strategy. What do you do?
DNA and Virus-Like Particles Vaccines
The effectiveness of a vaccine can be measured by its ability to induce both a cellular and a humeral immune response. Current vaccination strategies fail to induce a high level of both humeral and cellular immunity and therefore, have a less than optimal potency. This problem has resulted in a need for multiple and frequent immunizations in an attempt to achieve a desired immune response.
Investigators have developed a vaccine that elicits both cellular and humeral responses. The vaccine is a combination of virus-like particles (VLPs) and DNA, which can potentially vaccinate an individual against pathogens like the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), tuberculosis (TB), Hepatitis A, Hepatitis C, influenza virus, Ebola virus, Rift Valley fever virus and malaria. This vaccine has potential advantages over current vaccines including the ability to be safely and repeatedly administered to immune-compromised individuals without inducing an anti-vector immune response. It is designed to reduce the dosage requirements and the number of immunizations needed for effective treatment against bacterial and/or viral infections, thereby reducing associated side effects and cost of administration. The vaccine produces enhanced antibody and cellular responses via administration through mucosal and systemic delivery routes.
Proof of concept of this unique vaccine has been demonstrated in a mouse model.
Molecular Target for the Treatment of Alzheimer's Disease
An isoform of human apolipoprotein E, apoE4, has been linked to the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease. The apoE4 allele is a major risk factor for the disease. It increases the occurrence and lowers the age of onset of the disease. ApoE is found in amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles, the neuropathological hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease. Moreover, apoE4 is associated with other syndromes, for example, poor clinical outcome in patients with acute head trauma and stroke, and increased plasma cholesterol levels and higher risk for coronary artery disease.
Researchers have identified special forms of apoE4 that accumulate in Alzheimer's disease brains and in neurofibrillary tangles. These special forms of apoE4 induce the formation of neurofibrillary tangles in neuronal cell lines. The cell lines are available to screen compounds for their effectiveness in preventing the formation of neurofibrillary tangles associated with apoE4.
A reduction in the level of the special forms of apoE4 may inhibit formation of neurofibrillary tangles, resulting in not only treatments for Alzheimer's Disease, but also improvement of the clinical outcome of head trauma and stroke.
- The targeting of apoE4 is a novel approach to treating a disease that currently has no cure.
- This method complements those directed to the formation of amyloid plaques.