COVID-19 Vaccine Targets Espied with Cancer Immunotherapy Eyes

June 19, 2020 | Biotechnology

Reading time: 3 minutes

Lab.Equipment has found a new article from the Biotechnology industry for you. This one is published by Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News (GEN):

Developers of COVID-19 vaccines need inspiration, and it may come from cancer researchers. And why not? Viruses and cancers share certain behaviors to help them visit woe upon humankind. So, it seems only fair that vaccine developers and cancer researchers should identify and exploit concepts and methods with cross-disciplinary potential.

For example, a computational tool developed by cancer researchers at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) has been adapted to identify regions of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that would be vulnerable to newly developed vaccines. Originally, the tool served to identify highly specific biological targets in neuroblastoma tumors that could inform the development of engineered T cells.

The tool, developed and refined by Mark Yarmarkovich, PhD, a researcher in the CHOP laboratory of John M. Maris, MD, prioritizes viral targets based on their ability to stimulate a lasting immune response. Also, highly desirable targets are those predicted to be in the vast majority of the human population.

In a paper that appeared June 5 in Cell Reports Medicine, the Maris team described how the tool has been used to identify regions of the SARS-CoV-2 virus to target with a vaccine. The paper, entitled, “Identification of SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine Epitopes Predicted to Induce Long-term Population-Scale Immunity,” presents a vaccine concept that could specifically target specific vulnerabilities of SARS-CoV-2 and engage a robust adaptive immune response in the vast majority of the population.

To increase the likelihood that a vaccine is both safe and effective, the researchers looked for regions of SARS-CoV-2 that would stimulate a memory T-cell response that, when paired with the right B cells, would drive memory B-cell formation and provide lasting immunity and do so across the majority of huma... Read more at the GEN – Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News Blog.

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