NTD Research

For some of the most common NTDs, preventive chemotherapy is not considered a long-term strategy because post treatment re-infection can and usually does occur. Of particular concern are the re-infection rates for diseases such as hookworm and schistosomiasis. Moreover high rates of mebendazole failure have also been noted for hookworm. Other NTDs such as Chagas disease are not amenable to preventive chemotherapy. The long-term solution is to develop and use anthelmintic vaccines in areas of high transmission.. Such "antipoverty vaccines" are under development at the Sabin Vaccine Institute and Texas Children's Hospital Center for Vaccine Development.

For NTDs such as Chagas and related kinetoplastid infections such as leishmaniasis and human African trypanosomiasis, case detection, management, and treatment are critical in addition to programs of integrated vector management. However, some of the medicines used for these conditions have toxic side effects and are contraindicated in pregnancy. Therefore, efforts to develop vaccines against Chagas and leishmaniasis are underway at the Center for Vaccine Development. Finally, parallel programs to develop new drugs or diagnostic tools should also be considered.

Sabin Vaccine Institute and Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development – a Product Development Partnership

For the last decade, there has been a response from the non-profit sector to establish innovative models that would allow for the advancement of research & development that would ultimately lead to new products for the treatment, prevention and diagnosis of NTDs. These are the so-called “Product Develop Partnerships (PDPs)”, partnerships created among groups of private, public, governmental, educational, and non-profit organizations, with a goal to create innovation and advance new and inexpensive products to fight NTDs.

Among the well-established vaccine development PDPs, over the last 10 years the Sabin Vaccine Institute Vaccine Product Development Partnership has led the development of new vaccines to combat NTDs such as hookworm infections and schistosomiasis. Click to read more about their Human Hookworm Vaccine Initiative (HHVI) and the Schistosomiasis Vaccine Initiative (SVI), which are supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Brazilian Ministry of Health, the NIH, Blavatnik Charitable Foundation and Mort and Chris Hyman.

The new partnership between Sabin Vaccine Institute, Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine has brought into Texas Children’s Feigin Research Center the product development laboratories of the Sabin Vaccine Development Program, creating the Sabin Vaccine Institute and Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development. The Center for Vaccine Development uses a blueprint for the development of safe and effective vaccines against neglected tropical diseases by enhancing its capabilities to engage in antigen discovery, rapid development of scalable manufacturing processes (process development), quality control, and preclinical testing of suitable vaccine candidate antigens. In addition, it will build on the model of working with manufacturers in developing countries to transfer the technology and scale up developed processes for manufacture of pilot clinical lots under current good manufacturing practices (cGMP). The Center for Vaccine Development will continue to advance the hookworm and schistosomiasis programs and has recently initiated programs for the development of vaccines for Chagas disease and leishmaniasis, in collaboration with several key Mexican institutions and with support from the Carlos Slim Health Institute.

For more information visit www.texaschildrens.org/tropicalvaccines or email tropmed@bcm.edu.