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A Gene-Edited Vaccine Against Malaria - Dr. Stefan Kappe

Malaria is a deadly, mosquito-vectored disease in areas of the Developing World. Intensive efforts have resulted in few effective prophylactic or therapeutic practices or products that are without serious limitations. A vaccine against the causative organism would be ideal, but even vaccine strategies have drawbacks. Dr. Stefan Kappe and his team have devised a new vaccine strategy based on attenuation of the plasmodium parasite, using genetic engineering. CRISPR/Cas9 has been used to alter genes associated with life cycle and development, conferring immunological response to a complex set of antigens. Trials suggest good protection and safety from this strategy.

Oct 29, 2022 by Dr. Kevin Folta in Talking Biotech

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The mosquito is the most deadly animal on earth. It vectors a plasmodium, a eukaryotic parasite that invades the liver of the host and ultimately attacks red blood cells. There are some therapies and preventatives, but a durable vaccine would be a game changer in the Developing World. Dr. Stefan Kappe and his team have developed a vaccine based on the weakened plasmodium parasite. They used CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing to disrupt genes required for life cycle progression, so the vaccinated can receive a vaccination and invoke a strong immunological response against the actual pathogen if encountered. Clinical trials have demonstrated safety and efficacy, and paved the way for even more effective approaches that may be significant public health advances throughout the Developing World. Link to Dr. Kappe's Laboratory Link to the accompanying paper here.


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