AmpVacs Project Aims to Develop Synthetic Influenza A Vaccine

March 10, 2010

Sanquin Blood Supply Foundation (Amsterdam, the Netherlands), the Netherlands Cancer Institute (Amsterdam, the Netherlands), and the Netherlands Vaccine Institute (Bilthoven, the Netherlands), have launched the AmpVacs project, which aims to develop a broadly protective synthetic influenza A vaccine component.

Sanquin Blood Supply Foundation (Amsterdam, the Netherlands), the Netherlands Cancer Institute (Amsterdam, the Netherlands), and the Netherlands Vaccine Institute (Bilthoven, the Netherlands), have launched the AmpVacs project, which aims to develop a broadly protective synthetic influenza A vaccine component. This component, in combination with classical antibody-stimulating vaccines, will induce protection against future influenza A threats.

The protection afforded by traditional influenza A vaccines is mediated by antibodies. In contrast, induction of cytotoxic T cells, the other effector arm of the adaptive immune system, is highly inefficient. However, efficient induction of cytotoxic T cell responses would be highly attractive in vaccine development, contrary to the molecular structures recognized by antibodies, which are the structures recognized by cytotoxic T cells that are conserved between different influenza A subtypes.

Based on this notion and the protective effect of cytotoxic T cells on influenza A infection in preclinical models, the AmpVacs project, designed to develop a fully synthetic influenza A vaccine component. T cell imaging technology developed by one of the partners for the generation of a database of T cell epitopes will be used for this purpose. This database will then be used for the development and evaluation of a fully synthetic influenza A vaccine component, using specific formulation technology from the partners.

Notably, as a major fringe benefit, the project will develop multiplexed T cell imaging technology for the diagnostics of human immune function.

The preclinical research phase of the project is being funded by a joint call initiative of three Dutch public–private partnerships, the BioMedical Materials program, the Centre for Translational Molecular Medicine, and Top Institute Pharma. The Dutch government is providing 50% of the of the €4.2 million budget, with the remaining 50% being provided by the partners in the project.