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Sep 18, 2006

Infectious Disease Research Institute Receives $32-M Grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

  • The Infectious Disease Research Institute(IDRI) received a $32-million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop a therapeutic vaccine for leishmaniasis, a parasitic disease that affects an estimated 12 million people worldwide.

    IDRI will use the Gates Foundation grant to accelerate development of a candidate vaccine, known as Leish-111f, through clinical trials. The vaccine has already completed an initial safety study in the U.S. and is currently in testing in Peru, Brazil, and Colombia.

    IDRI’s vaccine employs technology that fuses proteins together in an attempt to stimulate immune cells that can control leishmaniasis.

    IDRI will employ its expertise in process sciences, formulation, and manufacturing to ensure that the necessary technology is transferred to countries with the greatest burden of leishmaniasis.

    Leishmaniasis is a widespread parasitic disease with frequent epidemics in the Indian subcontinent, Africa, and Latin America. Typically transmitted by blood-sucking sand flies, leishmania are protozoan parasites that inhabit macrophages. Infection can cause fatal organ diseases and disfiguring skin and mucosal diseases.

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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

Do you agree that ecstasy should be studied for its potential therapeutic benefits?

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