Griffith vaccine research receives over $17m

The science behind tropical vaccine development at Griffith University received a boost today with a funding grant of over $17m from the National Health and Medical Research Council(NHMRC).

The funding, which comprises the largest program grant to be awarded by the

organisation this year, will go to Griffith’s Institute for Glycomics for ‘Tropical

Disease – immunity, pathogenesis and vaccine development’. The work brings

together nine teams of researchers from Griffith, Queensland Institute of Medical

Research, Menzies School of Health Research, the University of Queensland and

James Cook University.

“This grant will develop strategic science initiatives in the field of immunity and

vaccine research and use them to test novel vaccines for serious tropical infections, including malaria, worms and streptococcus,” said lead researcher for the program Professor Michael Good from the Institute for Glycomics.

“Streptococcus is the cause of rheumatic heart disease, something which our Indigenous populations suffer the highest rates of worldwide.”

The multi-disciplinary team involves scientists, doctors and chemical engineers to

develop the technology and then conduct first-in-human clinical trials.

“The team from the five scientific organisations have worked together for several

years and this significant funding over five years provides the security to invest in

and develop new ideas of major importance to Australia and our neighbours,” said

Professor Good.

He said the grant will also be used to help develop the Institute’s new malaria

vaccine PlasProtecTâ„¢. This will be administered to volunteers as part of Phase 1

human vaccine trials in 2012, with the treatment expected to produce an immune response that will protect against all known strains of malaria.

“The award of this significant grant echoes the Institute’s world-leading profile in infectious disease research. Professor Good and his team continue to make an invaluable contribution to some of the most debilitating tropical infectious diseases and we are delighted to see that the National Health and Medical Research Council have recognised their outstanding research through the award of this grant,” said Professor Mark von Itzstein, the Director of the Institute for Glycomics.