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New Vaccine Delivery Systems Studied

Contact: Jennifer Bonck or
Jill Holder

 

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The two-year, $412,458 grant is from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a division of the NIH. The grant, “Nanoengineered HIV-1 Vaccines Based on Tat,” funds a project to develop novel vaccines for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), HIV-1, using nanotechnology.

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August 25, 2003 (Lexington, Ky.) -- Russell J. Mumper, Ph.D., assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences and assistant director, Center for Pharmaceutical Science and Technology, University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy, has been awarded a National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to develop vaccine delivery systems to treat, and eventually prevent, some forms of infectious diseases and viruses, such as the virus that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).

The two-year, $412,458 grant is from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a division of the NIH. The grant, “Nanoengineered HIV-1 Vaccines Based on Tat,” funds a project to develop novel vaccines for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), HIV-1, using nanotechnology.

Nanotechnology involves the use of nanoparticles in the targeted treatment of disease. Nanoparticles are tiny particles that have a diameter less than 1000 nanometers. (One nanometer is approximately one-billionth of a meter.) In this particular type of vaccine, nanoparticles containing a specific type of protein (HIV Tat protein) will be targeted to specific cells in the body. It is hoped that the tiny particles will help build antibodies and T-helper cells to combat the HIV virus.

This innovative pharmaceutical technology, termed “nanotemplate engineering” technology, was invented by Mumper and Michael Jay, Ph.D., professor of pharmaceutical sciences and director, Center for Pharmaceutical Science and Technology, UK College of Pharmacy. In 2000, Mumper and Jay co-founded NanoMed Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a seed-stage company that develops nanoparticle-based drug delivery systems. NanoMed is in the process of forming another seed-stage company, NanoVax Technologies, which will focus on developing the HIV-1 vaccines. The nanotemplate engineering technology and HIV vaccine technology is the subject of several pending patents assigned to the UK Research Foundation with Mumper and colleagues as inventors.

Mumper and NanoVax will collaborate on the development of these vaccines with colleagues, John R. Yannelli, Ph.D., associate professor of medicine, and Jerold G. Woodward, Ph.D., professor of cell and molecular immunology, both in the UK College of Medicine. The UK group will also work with Avindra Nath, M.D., professor of neurology, Johns Hopkins University.

”We are very excited about our preclinical data and if all goes well, we hope to have the HIV vaccine in human clinical trials within 24 months,” said Mumper. “We very much appreciate the support of UK and the NIH in sponsoring this research and development.”

To read more in the Lexington Herald-Leader, click here.


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