Biodesign Center for Immunotherapy Vaccines and Virotherapy

Biodesign Center for Immunotherapy, Vaccines and Virotherapy

Infectious disease causes 35 percent of deaths worldwide, and is the world’s biggest killer of children and young adults. Researchers with the Biodesign Center for Immunotherapy, Vaccines and Virotherapy focus on the study of basic bacterial and viral infectious disease processes, in addition to the design of vaccines and protein therapeutics to combat disease.

Center scientists utilize cutting-edge techniques, such as recombinant attenuated bacteria and viruses and genetically modified plants, to create new vaccines and therapeutics, including meeting the challenges of emergent diseases. Accomplishing these goals requires the creation and evaluation of novel bio-manufacturing systems for cost-effective production, as well as the implementation of new strategies for translation of this research into health benefits for the developing world.

A growing field of research sometimes called "pharming" has been breaking new ground at the center under the leadership of Charles Arntzen, Regents' Professor in the School of Life Sciences. Professor Antzen leads a research team that engineers plants to produce specialized vaccines and other drugs; recently they made history with ZMapp, an injectable serum created by genetically engineering antibodies grown in tobacco plants. ZMapp is currently the most promising drug treatment for people infected with Ebola.