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Publications of the Week

Antibody Interference by a Non-Neutralizing Antibody Abrogates Humoral Protection against Plasmodium yoelii Liver Stage

By August 13, 2021August 16th, 2021No Comments

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This week we profile a recent publication in Cell Reports from the laboratories of Dr. Alexis Kaushansky (pictured, left) and Dr. Noah Sather (pictured, right) at Seattle Children’s Research Institute.

Can you provide a brief overview of your lab’s current research focus?

This work was a collaboration between the Kaushansky and Sather labs at the Seattle Children’s Research Institute.

The Kaushansky lab studies how pathogens interact with their human hosts and uses this understanding to design novel interventions.  We are particularly interested in using and developing new technologies for this task, as we believe that new approaches can often lead to previously inaccessible insights.

The Sather Lab utilizes state-of-the-art technology to develop novel vaccine immunogens and strategies. The lab studies natural prototypes of immunity to decipher the immunological mechanisms of antibody-mediated protective immunity against HIV or malaria, and to leverage those insights into iterative vaccine development.

What is the significance of the findings in this publication?

Most work on the development of malaria vaccines happens in laboratory or clinical trials, where people or experimental conditions are “malaria naïve” – meaning that they mimic the first time that a person is infected with malaria.  Unfortunately, this is not how things happen in the real world – in malaria-endemic areas, people are often infected by malaria many times a year, and thus harbor what we call “pre-existing immunity” to malaria infection.  In this publication, we explore how this pre-existing immunity might impact vaccination to malaria.  We show that pre-existing immunity can decrease how well vaccination works in a mouse model of malaria.

What are the next steps for this research?

Our publication provides proof-of-concept that previous exposure and immune response can alter vaccine success, but there are multiple next steps.  First, we need to explore if this is the case in humans, not simply mice.  Second, we need to better understand how this works on a molecular level, so we can intervene.  Finally, we call for vaccine developers to take this into account when developing the next round of malaria vaccine candidates.

If you’d like us to mention your funding sources, please list them.

This work was funded by the W. M. Keck Foundation.

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