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Project Leader: Dr Anna Goodman, Clinical DPhil Student

Anna is a Clinical DPhil investigating potential vaccines for Malaria. The most common of the protozoan parasites that causes malaria in humans isPlasmodium falciparum. Malaria develops via two phases, the liver phase and the blood phase. An effective vaccine against P. falciparum is urgently needed in order to reduce the global health burden of malaria.

Vaccines based on viral vectors have been shown to enhance T cell immunity and increase the diversity of the immune response to intracellular antigens. Their efficacy is increased when more than one type of virus is used in a ‘prime-boost’ regime. The overall aim and objective of Anna’s project is to develop viral vector vaccines against malaria using a blood-stage malaria antigen. The ultimate aim would then be to combine the promising liver-stage vaccines produced in her group’s laboratory with an effective blood-stage vaccine. 

The malaria antigen that Anna is working with is the leading blood-stage vaccine antigen, merozoite surface protein 1 (MSP-1) and a combination of its sub-units created in her laboratory, known as PfM115. This antigen has been shown to induce very strong protection against a murine malaria parasite using an adenoviral and poxviral (MVA) vectors in a prime-boost regime that induces critical immune responses, both strong antibodies and T cell responses. 

A further aspect of Anna’s project is to investigate the comparative responses to four different simian adenoviral vector backbones. Such vaccines may circumvent the problems of pre-existing immunity to human adenoviral vectored vaccines.

2009

PP Goodman project pic 1

Three normal human erythrocytes (red) and

two erythrocytes (yellow) infected with the

malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. 

Image: David Ferguson