New York – August 13, 2019 – Four distinguished global leaders are joining the Human Vaccines Project to help push forward its effort to solve one the greatest public health challenges of the 21st century, the decoding of the human immune system. A 21-year member of Australia’s Parliament who spent five years as Foreign Minister, the Honorable Julie Bishop will join the Board of Directors. Internationally recognized Dutch virologist Jaap Goudsmit takes the helm as Chief Scientific Officer and Senior Vice President, while Soumya Swaminathan of the World Health Organization and Jerome Kim of the International Vaccine Institute join the Project’s Scientific Steering Committee.
“The Human Vaccines Project is very pleased that these four accomplished leaders have embraced the Project’s mission to address the next frontier in human health, the human immune system,” says Wayne C. Koff, Ph.D., President and CEO of the Human Vaccines Project. “Their extensive expertise across public, private, and nonprofit sectors will greatly strengthen our organization’s capacity to successfully integrate biomedical, artificial intelligence, and machine learning technologies towards transforming the future of human health.”
Honorable Julie Bishop: Bishop currently serves as the Chair of the Telethon Kids Institute, a world leader in addressing the health of pediatric and indigenous populations and the Project’s first international scientific hub. She is also the incoming Chancellor of the Australian National University. As former Foreign Minister and Minister of Education and Science in Australia, she brings a wealth of public health experience to her new role with the Project.
“The collaboration between Telethon Kids Institute and the Human Vaccines Project is a natural partnership that has the potential to yield enormous benefits for humankind and to hopefully revolutionize the approach to prevention and treatment of many types of illness,” Bishop says. “It would be a stunning achievement and one with global significance should the Human Vaccines Project be successful in identifying ways to greatly strengthen the human immune system, thereby making us far more resilient and resistant to the causes and impact of devastating and costly diseases.”
Jaap Goudsmit, MD PhD: A Dutch virologist by training, Goudsmit is internationally recognized for his research in AIDS, influenza, aging, and neurodegenerative diseases. Dr. Goudsmit was formerly Chief Scientific Officer at Crucell, a biotechnology company based in the Netherlands, and has joined the Project as Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer. He also holds appointments as professor of epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and professor of pathogenesis and natural history of neurodegenerative diseases at the Academic Medical Center of the University of Amsterdam.
“The Human Vaccines Project has recently demonstrated that decoding the human immune system is feasible and is entering an exciting new phase of growth that will deepen our understanding of immunology to improve health for all people,” Goudsmit says.
Soumya Swaminathan, MD: A pediatrician by training from India who is recognized for her research on tuberculosis and HIV, Dr. Swaminathan serves on the leadership team of the World Health Organization as its Chief Scientist and is joining the Human Vaccines Project’s Scientific Steering Committee. She formerly served as Secretary to the Government of India for Health Research and was Director General of the India Council of Medical Research. “The Human Vaccines Project’s commitment to deciphering the human immune system across global populations has the potential to make a major impact on the future of public health in vulnerable populations in low- and middle-income countries,” Swaminathan says.
Jerome Kim, MD: A physician by training, Dr. Kim currently serves as Director General of the International Vaccine Institute in Seoul, Korea, and is also joining the Project’s Scientific Steering Committee. He is a professor of medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Formerly, Dr. Kim was Principal Deputy and Chief of the Laboratory of Molecular Virology and Pathogenesis at the U.S. Military HIV Research Program. “The Human Vaccines Project is at the cutting edge of using new technologies in genomics, immune monitoring, and machine learning, to understand mechanism of protective immunity with vaccines and immunotherapies, complementing our efforts to improve the health and well-being of the world’s poorest populations,” Kim says.
“We are excited to welcome the Honorable Julie Bishop to the Human Vaccines Project’s Board of Directors and, in so doing, to further expand our strong partnership with the Telethon Kids Institute,” says Ian Gust, chair of the Human Vaccines Project Board. “And we are thrilled that Jaap Goudsmit has joined the Project’s executive management team, and that Drs. Swaminathan and Kim are providing their time and commitment to our mission. Collectively, these talented individuals will bolster our efforts worldwide.”
About the Human Vaccines Project
The Human Vaccines Project is a bold public-private initiative that aims to decode the human immune system to make the next leap forward in human health. Pioneering a new era in health, the Project will enable the creation of next-generation vaccines, diagnostics, and therapies across diseases. Learn more: http://www.humanvaccinesproject.org
June 13, 2019 – The Michelson Medical Research Foundation and the Human Vaccines Project are awarding the 2019 Michelson Prizes to three young scientists, who will each receive $150,000 for their novel approaches toward deciphering how the human immune system fights disease.
“The Michelson Prizes were established to enable early-career scientists to pursue disruptive, high-risk, and innovative ideas that have the potential for high impact across disease areas and that likely would not be funded by traditional grant mechanisms,” says Gary Michelson, M.D., founder of the Michelson Medical Research Foundation. “This year’s winners truly represent the next generation of innovative scientists, building the toolkit by which humanity can pursue longer and healthier lives.”
This year’s winners include:
Murad Mamedov, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), for his project entitled “Mapping γδ T Cell Receptor Ligands.” He is using gene-editing technologies to create a new platform for understanding an important set of immune cells that may provide the keys to the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of infectious and non-communicable diseases such as cancer.
Kamal Mandal, UCSF, for his project entitled “’Structural surfaceomics’ an approach to identify cancer-specific cell surface protein conformations for immunotherapeutic targeting.” He is developing new technologies that identify the shape of proteins that could provide new targets for cancer immunotherapy, with potential applications to other diseases.
Avinash Das Sahu, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Massachusetts General Hospital, for his project entitled “Identification of cancer drugs that boost immunotherapy response.” He is building novel artificial-intelligence (AI) deep-learning frameworks to devise new therapeutic strategies for cancer immunotherapy, with potential applications in human immunology.
“We are seeing a paradigm shift in human immunology, as the convergence of computational, AI, and machine learning tools combine with advances in genomics and immunobiology to offer an unprecedented opportunity for innovation,” says Wayne Koff, CEO of the Human Vaccines Project. “This year’s Michelson Prize winners reflect this shift, bringing ideas that could truly transform how we fight major global diseases.”
Now in its second year, the Michelson Prizes recognize researchers under the age of 35 who are conducting research on the next frontiers of human immunology, using technological advances from genomics, computational biology, and machine learning to work to transform the future of human health. This year’s winners were selected from a global competition that included more than 150 applications spanning 35 countries. The Prize recipients will receive their awards on June 18, 2019, at the University of California, Los Angeles, where they will also participate in a Human Vaccines Project sponsored symposium, The Future of Vaccine and Immunotherapy Development: Towards an Artificial Intelligence Driven Model of the Human Immune System.
Applications for the 2020 Michelson Prizes for Human Immunology and Vaccine Research will open on September 9, 2019. Learn more here.
About the Michelson Medical Research Foundation
The Michelson Medical Research Foundation (MMRF) is funded by philanthropists Gary and Alya Michelson. For more information, visit: michelsonmedical.org
About the Human Vaccines Project
The Human Vaccines Project is a bold public-private initiative that aims to decode the human immune system to make the next leap forward in human health. Pioneering a new era in health, the Project will enable the creation of next-generation vaccines, diagnostics, and therapies across diseases.
“The next breakthrough in foundational research will be decoding how the human immune system prevents and controls disease. Artificial intelligence and machine learning will be the keys to this achievement, transforming the future of human health just as they are now changing other aspects of our lives.” -Human Vaccines Project CEO Wayne Koff writes in a column for Project Syndicate
For the first time ever, scientists at the Human Vaccines Project are combining systems biology with artificial intelligence to crack the code of the human immune system. We are at a unique time when the tools for such an effort are available for the first time. Learn more in this video, featuring perspectives from leaders in the field:
C. Buddy Creech, M.D., a pediatric infectious diseases specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and a principal investigator for the Human Vaccines Project, discusses the value of teamwork in big science initiatives.
The surprising answers may help protect people longer. Featuring Human Vaccines Project Emeritus Board Member Stanley Plotkin and CEO Wayne Koff.
The human genome contains approximately 20 thousand protein-coding genes1, but the size of the collection of antigen receptors of the adaptive immune system that is generated by the recombination of gene segments with non-templated junctional additions (on B cells) is unknown—although it is certainly orders of magnitude larger. It has not been established whether individuals possess unique (or private) repertoires or substantial components of shared (or public) repertoires. Here we sequence recombined and expressed B cell receptor genes in several individuals to determine the size of their B cell receptor repertoires, and the extent to which these are shared between individuals. Our experiments revealed that the circulating repertoire of each individual contained between 9 and 17 million B cell clonotypes. The three individuals that we studied shared many clonotypes, including between 1 and 6% of B cell heavy-chain clonotypes shared between two subjects (0.3% of clonotypes shared by all three) and 20 to 34% of λ or κ light chains shared between two subjects (16 or 22% of λ or κ light chains, respectively, were shared by all three). Some of the B cell clonotypes had thousands of clones, or somatic variants, within the clonotype lineage. Although some of these shared lineages might be driven by exposure to common antigens, previous exposure to foreign antigens was not the only force that shaped the shared repertoires, as we also identified shared clonotypes in umbilical cord blood samples and all adult repertoires. The unexpectedly high prevalence of shared clonotypes in B cell repertoires, and identification of the sequences of these shared clonotypes, should enable better understanding of the role of B cell immune repertoires in health and disease.
Cinque Soto, Robin G. Bombardi, Andre Branchizio, Nurgun Kose, Pranathi Matta, Alexander M. Sevy, Robert S. Sinkovits, Pavlo Gilchuk, Jessica A. Finn & James E. Crowe Jr (2019)
For the first time ever, researchers are comprehensively sequencing the human immune system, which is billions of times larger than the human genome. In a new study published in Nature from the Human Vaccines Project, scientists have sequenced a key part of this vast and mysterious system — the genes encoding the circulating B cell receptor repertoire.
Sequencing these receptors in both adults and infants, the scientists found surprising overlaps that could provide potential new antibody targets for vaccines and therapeutics that work across populations. As part of a large multi-year initiative, this work seeks to define the genetic underpinnings of people’s ability to respond and adapt to an immense range of disease.
Led by scientists at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the San Diego Supercomputer Center, this advancement is possible due to the merging of biological research with high-powered frontier supercomputing. While the Human Genome Project sequenced the human genome and led to the development of novel genomics tools, it did not tackle the size and complexity of the human immune system.
“A continuing challenge in the human immunology and vaccine development fields has been that we do not have comprehensive reference data for what the normal healthy human immune system looks like,” says James E. Crowe, Jr., MD, Director of the Vanderbilt Vaccine Center of Vanderbilt University Medical Center, senior author on the new paper, which was published online in Nature on Feb. 13. “Prior to the current era, people assumed it would be impossible to do such a project because the immune system is theoretically so large, but this new paper shows it is possible to define a large portion, because the size of each person’s B cell receptor repertoire is unexpectedly small.”
The new study specifically looks at one part of the adaptive immune system, the circulating B cell receptors that are responsible for the production of antibodies that are considered the main determinant of immunity in people. The receptors randomly select and join gene segments, forming unique sequences of nucleotides known as receptor “clonotypes.” In this way, a small number of genes can lead to an incredible diversity of receptors, allowing the immune system to recognize almost any new pathogen.
Conducting leukapheresis on three individual adults, the researchers cloned and sequenced up to 40 billion cells to sequence the combinations of gene segments that comprise the circulating B cell receptors — achieving a depth of sequencing never before done. They also sequenced umbilical cord blood from three infants. The idea was to collect a vast amount of data on a few individuals, rather than the traditional model of collecting only a few points of data on many.
“The overlap in antibody sequences between individuals was unexpectedly high,” Crowe explains, “even showing some identical antibody sequences between adults and babies at the time of birth.” Understanding this commonality is key to identifying antibodies that can be targets for vaccines and treatments that work more universally across populations.
A central question was whether the shared sequences across individuals were the result of chance, rather than the result of some shared common biological or environmental factor. To address this issue, the researchers developed a synthetic B cell receptor repertoire and found that “the overlap observed experimentally was significantly greater than what would be expected by chance,” says Robert Sinkovits, Ph.D., of the San Diego Supercomputer Center at the University of California, San Diego.
As part of a unique consortium created by the Human Vaccines Project, the San Diego Supercomputer Center applied its considerable computing power to working with the multiple terabytes of data. A central tenet of the Project is the merger of biomedicine and advanced computing. “The Human Vaccines Project allows us to study problems at a larger scale than would be normally possible in a single lab and it also brings together groups that might not normally collaborate,” Sinkovits says.
Continued collaborative work is now under way to expand this study, including: sequencing other areas of the adaptive immune system, the T cell repertoire; adding additional demographics such as supercentenarians and international populations; and applying AI-driven algorithms to further mine the datasets for insights. The goal is to continue to interrogate the shared components of the immune system to develop safer and highly targeted vaccines and immunotherapies that work across populations.
“Due to recent technological advances, we now have an unprecedented opportunity to harness the power of the human immune system to fundamentally transform human health,” says Wayne Koff, Ph.D., CEO of the Human Vaccines Project. “Decoding the human immune system is central to tackling the global challenges of infectious and non-communicable diseases, from cancer to Alzheimer’s to pandemic influenza. This study marks a key step toward understanding how the human immune system works, setting the stage for developing next-generation health products through the convergence of genomics and immune monitoring technologies with machine learning and artificial intelligence.”
The new paper, “High frequency of shared clonotypes in human B cell receptor repertoires,” was published online in Nature on Feb. 13, 2019, and will appear in the Feb. 21, 2019, print issue. The work was supported by a grant from the Human Vaccines Project, and institutional funding from Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Foreign Policy has named our CEO Wayne Koff as one of 2018’s “thinkers and doers who had a profound impact on the planet” in its 10th annual special edition of Global Thinkers. He was listed among other global visionaries in science, arts, policy, health, and business — including Bill and Melinda Gates, Barack and Michelle Obama, and Angela Merkel, among others.
To expand our global reach, we have established a new nonprofit foundation in The Netherlands: Human Vaccines Project Europe. We are seeking to develop a European network of researchers and research institutions to bolster our global effort to decode the human immune system. This European foundation will support the global objective through outreach, advocacy, and resource mobilization.
Frans van den Boom is Director of the European foundation, and Nadia Rozendaal is Senior Advisor.
The Human Vaccines Project welcomes Harlan Robins, Ph.D., head of innovation and co-founder at Adaptive Biotechnologies, to the Project’s Scientific Steering Committee.
Adaptive is a pioneer and leader in the field of immune-driven medicine, using their powerful immune profiling platform to reveal and translate the insights of the adaptive immune system with unprecedented scale and precision to change the way we diagnose, treat, and monitor disease. The company joins other leading academic research centers, industry partners, nonprofits and governments to address the primary scientific barriers to developing new vaccines and immunotherapies through the sequencing and analysis of the human immune system.
“Increasing our understanding of the human immune system holds the key to the development of new and improved vaccines and therapies for major global diseases, including cancers, autoimmune, neurodegenerative and infectious diseases,” said Wayne Koff, PhD, president and CEO of the Human Vaccines Project. “Harlan’s expertise makes an invaluable addition to our Scientific Steering Committee. Together with other cross-sector leaders, we will accelerate our understanding of the components and mechanisms of the human immune system required for future diagnosis, prevention and treatment of major diseases.”
The driving force behind the Human Vaccines Project is decoding the human immune system to improve how we fight disease. Learn more in this video, featuring perspectives from leaders in the field:
Ian Gust (University of Melbourne), Chair of the Human Vaccines Project Board, describes the motivation for the Human Vaccines Project, a bold public-private initiative to decode the human immune system.
In principle, humans can produce an antibody response to any non-self-antigen molecule in the appropriate context. This flexibility is achieved by the presence of a large repertoire of naive antibodies, the diversity of which is expanded by somatic hypermutation following antigen exposure1. The diversity of the naive antibody repertoire in humans is estimated to be at least 1012 unique antibodies2. Because the number of peripheral blood B cells in a healthy adult human is on the order of 5 × 109, the circulating B cell population samples only a small fraction of this diversity. Full-scale analyses of human antibody repertoires have been prohibitively difficult, primarily owing to their massive size. The amount of information encoded by all of the rearranged antibody and T cell receptor genes in one person—the ‘genome’ of the adaptive immune system—exceeds the size of the human genome by more than four orders of magnitude. Furthermore, because much of the B lymphocyte population is localized in organs or tissues that cannot be comprehensively sampled from living subjects, human repertoire studies have focused on circulating B cells3. Here we examine the circulating B cell populations of ten human subjects and present what is, to our knowledge, the largest single collection of adaptive immune receptor sequences described to date, comprising almost 3 billion antibody heavy-chain sequences. This dataset enables genetic study of the baseline human antibody repertoire at an unprecedented depth and granularity, which reveals largely unique repertoires for each individual studied, a subpopulation of universally shared antibody clonotypes, and an exceptional overall diversity of the antibody repertoire.
Bryan Briney, Anne Inderbitzin, Collin Joyce & Dennis R. Burton (2019)
Ted Schenkelberg (Human Vaccines Project) and Russell Basser (Seqirus) discuss new approaches to universal influenza vaccines.
“What if instead of lining up for a flu shot of unknown effectiveness each fall, people could receive one vaccine that protects against all strains and lasts for many years, if not for life. It could spare incalculable amounts of suffering, and even eliminate terrifying pandemics. Scientists have spent decades trying to concoct such a “universal” flu vaccine and, at times, they seem to have made solid headway. But it remains an “alchemist’s dream,” as one virologist declared last month at a gathering on the topic organized by the Human Vaccines Project, a nonprofit based in New York City….”
Wayne Koff, CEO of the Human Vaccines Project explains in the New York Times why we need a moonshot effort to understanding the human immune system.
“Ground-breaking Perth research could help produce a universal flu vaccine that gives long-term protection against multiple strains in as little as two years.
The vastly improved vaccine could be given very early in life, before babies are exposed to flu viruses, and protect them for years, if not for ever.
As the only paediatric site for the global Human Vaccines Project — which is about to revolutionise how people are immunised — Perth will become home to a team of researchers led by Canadian infectious diseases expert Tobi Kollmann next year.
The work will be based at the Telethon Kids Institute and co-funded by the Perth Children’s Hospital Foundation…”
On June 27, 2018, the Human Vaccines Project and Michelson Medical Research Foundation honored 2018 Michelson Prize award winners at the 1st Annual Conference on the Future of Vaccine Development and Awards Dinner.
On June 27, 2018, the Human Vaccines Project convened a special conference, The Future of Vaccine Development, at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, Calif., which featured talks from global leaders in immunology, technology, and public health. This playlist includes 17 talks from the event, including from the 2018 Michelson Prize winners.
Get to know the 2018 Michelson prize winners in these short videos that highlight their innovative research and approaches.
High risk, high reward scientific advancements require long-term flexible funding with a clear focus on transformative discoveries and approaches. The next generation of scientists are often the ones bringing innovative ideas and ground-breaking approaches that have the potential to impact the future of human health. Yet these young researchers often have to wait their turn as more experienced colleagues secure sought-after funding for established research.
The Michelson Prizes for Human Immunology and Vaccine Research was founded to support these young investigators who are applying innovative research concepts and disruptive technologies to their work to significantly advance the development of future vaccines and therapies.
Today the Michelson Medical Research Foundation and the Human Vaccines Project are announcing the cutting edge researchers under the age of 35 that were selected as the award’s first recipients from a global competition that included over a hundred applications spanning 12 countries. Each of the three recipients will be awarded a $150,000Prize to fund specific aspects of their research.
“We are thrilled to recognize these three young scientists that hail from the U.S. and Australia – Patricia Illing, PhD, Ansuman Satpathy, MD, PhD, and Laura Mackay, PhD – as the first recipients of the Michelson Prizes for Human Immunology and Vaccine Research,” said Gary Michelson, MD, founder of the Michelson Medical Research Foundation. “The high caliber of their scientific pursuits, their disruptive ideas, and their passion for innovation and problem solving gives me great hope for the future of science.”
“It is inspiring to see the creative thinking and innovative approaches these young researchers are taking to tackle today’s scientific challenges,” said Wayne C. Koff, PhD, president and CEO of the Human Vaccines Project. “We are proud to be able to support their research, which aligns with the Project’s mission of deepening our understanding of the immune system. We’re looking forward to the progress the Prize winners will make over the next year.”
The Prize recipients will participate in a symposium on the Future of Vaccine Development at the University of Southern California on June 27, 2018. They’ll also be recognized at an awards gala that evening.
Applications for the 2019 Michelson Prizes for Human Immunology and Vaccine Research will open this coming Fall. The learn more, please visit http://www.humanvaccinesproject.org/michelsonprizes/.
About the Michelson Medical Research Foundation
Founded by Dr. Gary K. Michelson, a renowned orthopedic surgeon, inventor, patent holder and philanthropist, Michelson Medical Research Foundation [MMRF] supports forward thinking initiatives in medical science. For more information, visit michelsonmedical.org.
About the Human Vaccines Project
The Human Vaccines Project is a nonprofit public-private partnership with a mission to decode the human immune system to accelerate the development of vaccines and immunotherapies against major global diseases. The Project brings together leading academic research centers, industrial partners, nonprofits and governments to address the primary scientific barriers to developing new vaccines and immunotherapies. Support and funders for the Project include the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Michelson Medical Research Foundation, GSK, MedImmune, Illumina, Sanofi Pasteur, Johnson & Johnson/Janssen, Pfizer, Moderna, Boehringer Ingelheim, Aeras, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, University of California San Diego, The Scripps Research Institute, J. Craig Venter Institute, La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology and Telethon Kids Institute. To learn more, visit www.humanvaccinesproject.org and follow @HumanVacProject on Twitter.
Telethon Kids Institute in Australia has joined the Human Vaccines Project as its first international scientific hub, bringing significant health and scientific expertise in the areas of vaccines as well as working in pediatric and indigenous populations. The institute’s capacity will enhance the Project’s efforts toward better vaccines and immunotherapies, as well as work towards a universal flu vaccine.
Although the success of vaccination to date has been unprecedented, our inadequate understanding of the details of the human immune response to immunization has resulted in several recent vaccine failures and significant delays in the development of high-need vaccines for global infectious diseases and cancer. Because of the need to better understand the immense complexity of the human immune system, the Human Vaccines Project was launched in 2015 with the mission to decode the human immune response to accelerate development of vaccines and immunotherapies for major diseases. The Project currently has three programs: 1) The Human Immunome Program, with the goal of deciphering the complete repertoire of B and T cell receptors across the human population, termed the Human Immunome, 2) The Rules of Immunogenicity Program, with the goal of understanding the key principles of how a vaccine elicits a protective and durable response using a system immunology approach, and 3) The Universal Influenza Vaccine Initiative (UIVI), with the goal of conducting experimental clinical trials to understand the influence of influenza pre-exposures on subsequent influenza immunization and the mechanisms of protection. Given the dramatic advances in computational and systems biology, genomics, immune monitoring, bioinformatics and machine learning, there is now an unprecedented opportunity to unravel the intricacies of the human immune response to immunization, ushering in a new era in vaccine development.
S. Wooden and W. C. Koff (2018)
The Human Vaccines Project welcomes Moncef Slaoui, PhD, to its Board of Directors. Dr. Slaoui served as Chairman of Global R&D at GSK, and was instrumental in the development HPV, pneumococcal and rotavirus vaccines. In 2016, he was recognized as one of Fortune Magazine’s “50 Greatest World Leaders” for his work on under-researched diseases that are common in the developing world.
Scientists leading the clinical programs for the Human Vaccines Project reported high-level outcomes from two clinical studies aimed at decoding how the human immune system prevents and controls disease at the World Vaccine and Immunotherapy Congress in San Diego, California.
Seasonal and pandemic influenza represent one of our greatest public health threats. The Human Vaccines Project has launched the Universal Influenza Vaccine Initiative to address the underlying scientific barrier impeding the development of a broadly protective, universal influenza vaccine: the human immune response.
The Human Vaccines Project welcomes Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny to its Board of Directors. Dr. Kieny is currently Director of Research at INSERM leading collaborations with the international health research community, and has held various leadership positions at the World Health Organization (WHO).
Biomedical research has become a data intensive science in which high throughput experimentation is producing comprehensive data about biological systems at an ever-increasing pace. The Human Vaccines Project is a new public-private partnership, with the goal of accelerating development of improved vaccines and immunotherapies for global infectious diseases and cancers by decoding the human immune system. To achieve its mission, the Project is developing a Bioinformatics Hub as an open-source, multidisciplinary effort with the overarching goal of providing an enabling infrastructure to support the data processing, analysis and knowledge extraction procedures required to translate high throughput, high complexity human immunology research data into biomedical knowledge, to determine the core principles driving specific and durable protective immune responses.
R.H. Scheuermann, R.S. Sinkovits, T. Schenkelberg and W.C. Koff (2017)
The Human Vaccine Project is pleased to announce the enrollment of our first clinical vaccine trial. The study is the first step in a series of trials with the goal of understanding the principles of lifelong immunological protection across key demographics and global populations.
The Human Vaccines Project is pleased to welcome Jose-Maria Fernandez to the Board of Directors. Jose-Maria is currently managing partner at Altamar Credit, Altamar Capital Partners LLC, and has held numerous posts in the public sector including most recently serving as Director General of the Spanish Treasury.
The Human Vaccines Project and Vanderbilt University Medical Center today announced that they joined forces with Illumina, Inc., to decipher the human immunome, the genetic underpinnings of the immune system.
The Pioneering mRNA Biotech Company has Joined the Human Vaccines Project to Advance Fundamental Understanding of the Immune System
The Human Vaccines Project and Boehringer Ingelheim Partner To Accelerate the Development of Cancer Vaccines and Immunotherapies
The Human Vaccines Project teamed with the University of California, San Diego, to apply advances in machine learning to solve critical problems impeding the development of vaccines and therapeutics for a wide range of diseases.
Vaccines have been one of the most effective public health interventions over the last century, preventing and controlling a broad spectrum of infectious diseases [1Centers for Disease C, Prevention. Control of infectious diseases. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 1999;48:621–629.]. Recent scientific and technological breakthroughs suggest an even greater potential for vaccines and immune-driven therapies for diseases ranging from complex pathogens and cancers to allergies and autoimmune diseases. Still, continued and significant public health advances are being held back by a lack of understanding of how best to exploit the human immune system to confer specific and durable protective immune responses.
W. C. Koff and T. Schenkelberg (2016)
Cancer vaccine development has been vigorously pursued for 40 years. Immunity to tumor antigens can be elicited by most vaccines tested, but their clinical efficacy remains modest. We argue that a concerted international effort is necessary to understand the human antitumor immune response and achieve clinically effective cancer vaccines.
P. Romero, J. Banchereau, et. al. (2016)
Four scientific institutions – University of California, San Diego; J. Craig Venter Institute; La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology; and The Scripps Research Institute – teamed to create the “Mesa Consortium,” a new scientific hub for the Human Vaccines Project.
Pfizer Inc. announced it joined the Human Vaccines Project, a public-private consortium looking to identify human immune responses associated with optimal vaccine protection.
The Human Vaccines Project announced support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to catalyze ethics and regulatory work for the Project’s human immunology-based clinical research program.
Recent technological advances in genomics, mass spectrometry, and epitope identification algorithms offer significant potential to identify novel antigenic targets for vaccine and immunotherapeutic development. On 30 April 2015, leading immunologists and bioinformatics scientists met to consider how best to utilize these advances towards deciphering the human antigenome and exploiting this information for prevention and control of infectious and neoplastic diseases.
A. Sette, T. Schenkelberg and W. C. Koff (2016)
Technological advances in next-generation DNA sequencing offer great potential to probe the human immune system. On 3 April 2015, leading immunologists and bioinformatics scientists met to consider how best to harness these advances for decoding the human immunome.
J. E. Crowe Jr. and W. C. Koff (2015)
Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) and the Human Vaccines Project announced that VUMC has become the Project’s first scientific hub.
The Human Vaccines Project is a bold new initiative, with the goal of solving the principal scientific problem impeding vaccine development for infectious diseases and cancers: the generation of specific, broad, potent and durable immune responses in humans. In the July 2014 workshop, 20 leaders from the public and private sectors came together to give input on strategic business issues for the creation of the Human Vaccines Project. Participants recommended the Project to be established as a nonprofit public-private partnership, structured as a global R&D consortium closely engaged with industrial partners, and located/affiliated with one or more major academic centers conducting vaccine R&D. If successful, participants concluded that the Project could greatly accelerate the development of new and improved vaccines, with the potential to transform disease prevention in the 21st century.
T. Schenkelberg, M. P. Kieny, et. al. (2015)
Technological advances in antigen discovery, genomics and immunological monitoring offer tremendous potential for revolutionizing vaccine development. On 5–6 February 2014, 35 leading vaccine scientists met to consider how best to harness these advances and spur innovation.
W. C. Koff, I. D. Gust and S. A. Plotkin (2014)
Vaccines are among the greatest successes in the history of public health. However, past strategies for vaccine development are unlikely to succeed in the future against major global diseases such as AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. For such diseases, the correlates of protection are poorly defined and the pathogens evade immune detection and/or exhibit extensive genetic variability. Recent advances have heralded in a new era of vaccine discovery. However, translation of these advances into vaccines remains impeded by lack of understanding of key vaccinology principles in humans. We review these advances toward vaccine discovery and suggest that for accelerating successful vaccine development, new human immunology-based clinical research initiatives be implemented with the goal of elucidating and more effectively generating vaccine-induced protective immune responses.
W. C. Koff, D. R. Burton, et. al. (2013)