May 17, 2012Science and Technology
Algae provides malaria vaccine breakthrough

Biologists have engineered algae to produce potential candidates for a vaccine preventing transmission of the malaria parasite. Part of the difficulty in creating a vaccine against malaria has been that it requires producing complex, three-dimensional proteins resembling those made by the parasite. Most vaccines created by engineered bacteria are relatively simple proteins. More complex proteins can be produced, but it requires an expensive process. Instead, biologists looked to produce their proteins from a green alga, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Two years ago, a team of biologists from the San Diego Center for Algae Biotechnology, published a landmark study demonstrating that many complex human therapeutic proteins could be produced by Chlamydomonas. Collaborating with Joseph Vinetz, a professor of medicine at UC San Diego, the researchers showed that, in lab mice, proteins produced by the algae made antibodies that blocked malaria transmission from mosquitoes.

Relevant Locations: San Diego, CA, USA
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