Program intends to develop and test a vaccine against all four major parasitic worm infections

WASHINGTON, DC—July 15, 2013—The Sabin Vaccine Institute Product Development Partnership (Sabin PDP) announced the launch of a soil-transmitted helminth (STH) vaccine discovery program thanks to generous support from the Gary Karlin Michelson, M.D. Charitable Foundation, Inc.  Based at Houston’s Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital, the Sabin PDP will endeavor to advance lead candidate antigens for ascariasis (roundworm) and trichuriasis (whipworm) infections and incorporate them into existing hookworm and schistosomiasis vaccines currently being developed by the Sabin PDP to create a vaccine against all four major human helminth infections.

“I felt compelled to support efforts to develop a vaccine against the four most devastating parasitic worm infections because more than one billion innocent people, many of them small children, are unnecessarily plagued by these diseases,” explained Dr. Gary K. Michelson. “I hope that rigorous research, studies and testing conducted by the Sabin PDP, along with additional investments, will eventually lead to meaningful discoveries.”

Ascariasis, an infection of the small intestine, afflicts an estimated 800-900 million people and is a significant cause of acute intestinal obstruction in young children with high worm loads, leading to thousands of deaths annually. Trichuriasis, an infection of the large intestine, affects approximately 500 million people and is arguably the primary cause of inflammatory bowel disease in developing countries. These life-altering infections also significantly impede physical and cognitive growth in children.

“We are excited to add this momentous program to the Sabin PDP’s existing portfolio of neglected tropical disease (NTD) vaccines,” said Dr. Peter Hotez, president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute, director of the Sabin Vaccine Institute and Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development and dean of Baylor College of Medicine’s National School of Tropical Medicine. “This new initiative opens a potential way forward to alleviate the suffering of millions of people living in extreme poverty worldwide. A vaccine to prevent ascariasis and trichuriasis would be a significant public health advancement, particularly when co-formulated with hookworm and schistosomiasis antigens in a pan-anthelminthic vaccine.”

This new vaccine project will leverage the Sabin PDP’s programmatic and technical infrastructure to carry out discovery, preclinical evaluation, and early feasibility studies of Ascaris and Trichuris candidate antigens. Ultimately, one or both antigens selected for development could be added to the hookworm and schistosomiasis vaccines already under development by the Sabin PDP.

“We are deeply grateful for Dr. Michelson’s bold leadership and profound commitment to advancing essential scientific discovery work that will improve the lives of those most burdened by neglected tropical diseases,” added Dr. Hotez.

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About Sabin Vaccine Institute

Sabin Vaccine Institute is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization of scientists, researchers, and advocates dedicated to reducing needless human suffering caused by vaccine preventable and neglected tropical diseases. Sabin works with governments, leading public and private organizations, and academic institutions to provide solutions for some of the world's most pervasive health challenges. Since its founding in 1993 in honor of the oral polio vaccine developer, Dr. Albert B. Sabin, the Institute has been at the forefront of efforts to control, treat, and eliminate these diseases by developing new vaccines, advocating use of existing vaccines, and promoting increased access to affordable medical treatments. For more information please visit www.sabin.org

About Sabin Vaccine Institute Product Development Partnership (Sabin PDP)

The Sabin PDP based at Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine’s National School of Tropical Medicine is focused on developing vaccines targeting neglected tropical diseases and the world's first and only vaccine initiative targeting human hookworm infection. This product development partnership (PDP) engages partners in academia, industry, government and civil society to fill an important market gap by collaborating with world class research and development institutions to create ultra low-cost vaccines for poor and underserved populations.  Other key PDP collaborating organizations include the George Washington University, the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (FIOCRUZ) (Brazil), the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (UK), the James Cook University (Australia), Birmex (Mexico), Cinvestav (Mexico), and Autonomous University of Yucatan (Mexico).  For more information please visit www.sabin.org/pdp

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