This week in therapeutics




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Infectious disease


Leishmania hemoglobin receptor (HbR)

Rodent studies suggest an HbR-based vaccine could protect against visceral Leishmaniasis. Leishmania use HbR to acquire exogenous heme, which is required for growth. DNA sequencing of multiple strains of Leishmania showed that HbR is highly conserved. In mouse and hamster models of Leishmania infection, immunization with HbR DNA decreased splenic and hepatic parasite burden and increased T cell proliferation and survival compared with no immunization. Next steps could include testing the vaccine in primates.
Mologen AG and the Infectious Disease Research Institute have a DNA-based vaccine against leishmaniasis in Phase I testing.

SciBX 6(40); doi:10.1038/scibx.2013.1133
Published online Oct. 17, 2013

Patent application filed; licensing status unavailable

Guha, R. et al. Sci. Transl. Med.; published online Sept. 11, 2013;
Contact: Amitabha Mukhopadhyay, Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, Kolkata, India
Contact: Syamal Roy, same affiliation as above