ProdiGene, Inc. announced at the Keystone Symposia, that it successfully expressed a sub unit vaccine in maize that is expected to produce an immune response to simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), the primate equivalent to HIV.The research is funded by an Innovation Grant program from the NIH Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease’s Office of AIDS Research (NIH/NIAID/DAIDS). The objective of the program is to develop a source of SIV gp120 protein, a key protein in AIDS research, as well as to establish a potential oral delivery system for an AIDS vaccine.
ProdiGene has successfully expressed SIV gp120 in its transgenic plant system, which now provides a source of the protein to be used in AIDS research.
Additionally, ProdiGene scientists will begin animal studies this spring to confirm that ingesting the vaccine will induce an immune response against the virus.
This constitutes a key stepping stone for moving into the expression of an HIV vaccine in a transgenic plant system.
ProdiGene’s long- range plan is to develop an oral delivery method for an AIDS vaccine.
“The search for an AIDS vaccine continues to advance aggressively,” remarked Michael Horn, Ph.D., Senior Research Scientist and Project leader at ProdiGene.
“Once we have the vaccine in hand however, we must be able to make it readily accessible to the populations that are in such dire need. ProdiGene’s system promises to provide the edible, highly-scalable and cost effective vaccine option that can meet this demand.”
ProdiGene is a private biotechnology company that is developing and manufacturing industrial and pharmaceutical proteins from a transgenic plant system.