Malaria Vaccine Development
Developing vaccines against malaria-causing parasites, including the dormant form of Plasmodium vivax
Approximately 1/3 of the world’s population is at risk for contracting malaria. Malaria is caused by infection with Plasmodium parasites, including P. falciparum, the deadliest form, and P. vivax, the most geographically widespread form. Both forms of malaria exact a massive human and economic toll. The Sather lab is focused on the development of a vaccine to prevent both forms of malaria. In the case of P. vivax, vaccine development is complicated by the existence of a dormant liver form that can activate years after initial infection, causing a relapse of symptomatic, blood-stage, transmissible disease. In fact, most cases of active, blood-stage P. vivax malaria are caused by reactivation of dormant parasites. Therefore, targeting this stage of the disease could reduce illness and dramatically curb or eliminate transmission.
A major focus of Dr. Sather’s research is vaccine and therapy development, including the prevention of primary infection with P. falciparum and clinical relapse infection with P. vivax. The Sather lab is actively developing novel vaccine candidates and evaluating their ability to prevent infection. To bolster these efforts, they and their collaborators developed a recombinant antibody that distinguishes between the dormant and replicating forms of P. vivax.This tool will help advance research on P. vivax liver-stage disease.
In addition to his expertise in analyzing host-pathogen interactions at the molecular level and developing technologies and tools for researching these interactions, Dr. Sather has experience designing novel immunogens and analyzing their immunogenicity. His collaborators include clinical partners in countries where malaria is endemic.
Dr. Sather is interested in exploring partnerships that advance preclinical vaccine development for Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax malaria. Examples of partner projects include: 1) developing malaria vaccine formulations with clinical-grade adjuvants; 2) exploring nanoparticles as carriers for malaria vaccines, and 3) working on malaria vaccine development with partners with good manufacturing practice (GMP) facilities.
Stage of Development
- Preclinical in vitro
- Preclinical in vivo
- Collaborative research opportunity
- Sponsored research agreement
- Licensing agreement (PCT/US2016/015831)
- Consultation agreement
Immune repertoire sequencing
- Schafer C, Dambrauskas N, Steel RW, Carbonetti S, Chuenchob V, Flannery EL, Vigdorovich V, Oliver BG, Roobsoong W, Maher SP, Kyle D, Sattabongkot J, Kappe SHI, Mikolajczak SA, Sather DN. A recombinant antibody against Plasmodium vivax UIS4 for distinguishing replicating from dormant liver stages. Malar J. 2018;17(1):370.
- Roth A, Maher SP, Conway AJ, Ubalee R, Chaumeau V, Andolina C, Kaba SA, Vantaux A, Bakowski MA, Luque RT, Adapa SR, Singh N, Barnes SJ, Cooper CA, Rouillier M, McNamara CW, Mikolajczak SA, Sather N, Witkowski B, Campo B, Kappe SHI, Lanar DE, Nosten F, Davidson S, Jiang RHY, Kyle DE, Adams JH. A comprehensive model for assessment of liver stage therapies targeting Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum. Nat Commun. 2018 9;9(1):1837.
- Hahn WO, Butler NS, Lindner SE, Akilesh HM, Sather DN, Kappe SH, Hamerman JA, Gale M Jr, Liles WC, Pepper M. cGAS-mediated control of blood-stage malaria promotes Plasmodium-specific germinal center responses. JCI Insight. 2018;3(2): e94142.