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May 31, 2011

MediGene Partners with Johns Hopkins to Progress AAVLP Vaccine Platform

  • MediGene is teaming up with HPV researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore to further develop its AAVLP vaccine candidates for preventing HPV-associated cancers. The Johns Hopkins team is headed by Richard B. S. Roden, Ph.D., professor of gynecology/obstetrics and oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

    MediGene’s  preclinical-stage AAVLP program aims to harness antigenic adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors as vaccines. The firm claims the AAV capsid protein shell is ideal for the production of virus-like particles (VLP) that can be used as the basis for vaccines carrying antigenic peptides. The approach involves inserting short B-cell epitopes into the viral capsid, and administering the construct as a vaccine to trigger highly specific antibody-mediated reactions.

    The AAVLP program is initially being developed to generate potential vaccines for the treatment of cancer and viral infections. MediGene is looking into the potential to use AAV libraries for the systematic identification of suitable vaccine candidates. It says it may also be possible to transfer existing therapeutic antibodies directly into an AAVLP vaccine.

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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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