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Grand Challenges is a family of initiatives fostering innovation to solve key global health and development problems. Each initiative is an experiment in the use of challenges to focus innovation on making an impact. Individual challenges address some of the same problems, but from differing perspectives.


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Challenges: Vaccines
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A Novel Approach of Creating an Attenuated Pneumonia Vaccine

Vijay Pancholi, Ohio State University Research Foundation (Columbus, Ohio, United States)
Nov 1, 2009

Vijay Pancholi of The Ohio State University Research Foundation in the U.S. will attempt to attenuate the S. pneumonia bacteria by altering export of the GAPDH enzyme, a function thought to be essential to the bacteria's survival. Preventing export of this key enzyme will decrease bacterial virulence, allowing the attenuated strain to be used for development an affordable live vaccine for pneumococcal pneumonia.

A Single Vaccine Against Pneumococcus and Typhoid Fever

Yingjie Lu, Children's Hospital Boston (Boston, Massachusetts, United States)
Nov 1, 2009

Yingjie Lu and Richard Malley of Children's Hospital Boston in the U.S. will develop a bivalent pneumococcal and typhoid vaccine by using a new technology to include three highly conserved pneumococcal antigens and the well-established Vi polysaccharide antigen that provides protection against typhoid fever. The team will test the ability of this vaccine to induce strong humoral and cellular immune responses against both pneumococcus and the causative agent of typhoid fever, Salmonella Typhi. In this project's Phase I research, the team successfully developed the bivalent vaccine and in initial research was able to demonstrate dual immunity to both pneumococcus and S. Typhi. In Phase II, they will perform further proof-of-concept experiments in animal models that will provide support for the clinical development of this bivalent vaccine candidate.

Dendritic Cell Receptor-Targeted Malaria Vaccines

Rajan George, Paladin Biosciences (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada)
Nov 1, 2009

Rajan George of Paladin Biosciences, a division of Paladin Labs Inc. in Canada will produce a vaccine with multiple malaria antigens to target dendritic cell receptors and without the need for an adjuvant, in an effort to induce both antibody and cell-mediated immune responses to the malaria parasite at various stages of the infection.

Develop Novel Receptor Blocking Vaccines Against P. falciparum and P. viva

Deepak Gaur, International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (New Delhi, Delhi, India)
Nov 1, 2009

Deepak Gaur, Chetan Chitnis and Virander Chauhan of the International Centre for Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology in India will attempt to develop a blood- stage malaria vaccine that uses a combination of two proteins found among a wide diversity of malaria parasites. Their goal is to stimulate antibodies that would stop parasite infection of red blood cells by blocking multiple pathways of invasion.

Development of a Genetically-Attenuated Live Malaria Vaccine

Krystal Evans, The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia)
Nov 1, 2009

Krystal Evans of The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Australia will knock out several proteins that support the expression of the major virulence factor for the malaria parasite. Their aim is create a genetically-attenuated live malaria vaccine that elicits a strong immune response against diverse strains of the parasite.

Engineered H. pylori as a Diarrheal Vaccine Platform

Martin Blaser, New York University (New York, New York, United States)
Nov 1, 2009

Martin Blaser of the New York University School of Medicine in the U.S. proposes to engineer a harmless modification of H. pylori, a bacteria commonly found in the human stomach, to deliver antigens to protect against intestinal pathogens such as cholera and campylobacter. This modified H. pylori can only survive in the presence of an enzyme supplied in special drinking water, allowing those administering the vaccine to regulate its colonization.

Enhancing TB Vaccines with Gene Silencing

Jinhee Lee, University of Massachusetts (Worcester, Massachusetts, United States)
Nov 1, 2009

Jinhee Lee and Gary Ostroff of the University of Massachusetts Medical School in the U.S. will test the idea of delivering small interfering RNA (siRNAs) via glucan particles in an oral TB vaccine formulation. The team will utilize the siRNAs' ability to block immunosuppressive signaling and amplify the immune response.

Genetic Fossils Used As Vaccine Targets for HIV

Jonah Sacha, Oregon Health and Science University (Portland, Oregon, United States)
Nov 1, 2009

Because HIV infection activates naturally-dormant endogenous retroviruses (ERV) in human cells, Jonah Sacha will target T cells against these ERV antigens. Such targeting to eliminate HIV infected cells could be the basis for new host-directed vaccines. In this project's Phase I research, Sacha and collaborators demonstrated that ERV-specific antibodies are specifically triggered by infection with an exogenous retrovirus like SIV or HIV. In Phase II, Sacha, now at the Oregon Health & Science University in the U.S., will investigate whether ERV-specific antibodies can block transmission of AIDS viruses in animal models, leading to their potential use as a therapeutic and prophylactic vaccine.

Ghost HIV Virus to Stimulate the Immune System

Paul Kim, Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, Maryland, United States)
Nov 1, 2009

Paul Kim of Johns Hopkins University in the U.S. will modify HIV by removing the viral genome and replacing the outer domain of the gp120 protein, used by the virus to invade host immune cells, with receptors normally used by gp120 to bind to host cells. When this modified ghost virus encounters native HIV during an infection, hidden epitopes are exposed to the host immune system, stimulating antibodies to clear the infection.

Inexpensive, Dry, Heat-Stable, Vaccine Skin Patch

Tycho Speaker, TransDerm, Inc. (Santa Cruz, California, United States)
Nov 1, 2009

Tycho Speaker of Transderm Inc. in the United States, along with Juvaris Biotherapeutics, will test the efficacy of a dry microneedle skin patch loaded with malaria antigens and a novel adjuvant for its ability to stimulate a robust immune response. If successful, this painless, low-cost, no-refrigeration vaccine delivery system could increase vaccine access to at-risk populations.

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View the Grand Challenges partnership network

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is part of the Grand Challenges partnership network. Visit www.grandchallenges.org to view the map of awarded grants across this network and grant opportunities from partners.