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Rockefeller University vaccine researchers selected for a grant offer from Foundation for NIH

A team of researchers led by Rockefeller University immunologist Ralph M. Steinman, M.D., has been selected for a grant offer from the Foundation for the NIH (FNIH) of $14 million to support the design of novel vaccines that stimulate multiple components of the body's immune response, including those that have been difficult to target with existing vaccine approaches.

The project is among 43 groundbreaking research projects to improve health in developing countries, supported by $436 million from the Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative.

The Grand Challenges initiative was launched by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2003, in partnership with the National Institutes of Health, with a $200 million grant to the FNIH and is a major international effort to achieve scientific breakthroughs against diseases that kill millions of people each year in the world's poorest countries. It is funded with a $450 million commitment from Gates Foundation, $27.1 million from the Wellcome Trust and $4.5 million from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). The initiative is managed by global health experts at the Foundation for NIH, the Gates Foundation, the Wellcome Trust and CIHR.

Steinman's consortium will design vaccines that are specifically targeted to dendritic cells -- a key component of the body's immune defense system -- with the goal to stimulate stronger and more prolonged protective immune responses. Dendritic cells, known as the sentinels of the immune system, capture antigens from invading pathogens and present them to T lymphocytes, the immune cells that orchestrate the body's protective response, but their biological properties have not previously been harnessed directly in vaccine design.

The project will test this method for the creation of new vaccines against HIV, malaria, and certain forms of cancer associated with the Epstein-Barr virus. If successful, this technology could identify a better way to create
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Contact: Joseph Bonner
bonnerj@rockefeller.edu
212-327-8998
Rockefeller University
30-Jun-2005


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