Malaria results from infection by one of five species of mosquito-borne parasite. Each year, these protists infect 350-500 million worldwide and kill over one million people. Over three billion people living in tropical regions are exposed to malaria every year. Plasmodium Vivax is the common cause of recurring Malaria, but remains one of the more poorly understood parasites. P. Vivax and other plasmodia have grown increasingly resistant to these common treatments leading to a resurgence of Malaria. Though development of vaccine candidates for vivax malaria has accelerated, it remains hindered by the dearth of relevant experimental models. These parasites preferentially infect reticulocytes, which account for a small fraction of circulating blood cells and difficult to isolate in sufficient quantity for vaccine research. Arteriocyte is developing unique rapid reticulocyte production technology to address this problem. The resulting cells demonstrate functional characteristics similar to circulating reticulocytes. Arteriocyte will adapt and refine its feeder-layer free expansion and differentiation technologies and implement them in a system to produce high volumes of Duffy-antigen positive reticulocytes suitable for vaccine research. The company will then work with experts at the Emory Vaccine Center and CDC to demonstrate feasibility for use in Vaccine Development. This project will lead to a unique platform to jump start research of P. vivax malaria and stimulate rapid development of effective vaccines. Arteriocyte's innovative tools for malaria research will lead to significant improvement in infection prevention for populations living or operating in tropical regions worldwide. This system will bridge the gap between biology and production by providing the biological and technical underpinnings for an automated reticulocyte production system.
The goal of this project is to develop innovative ex vivo reticulocyte production methods to provide vital tools for p. vivax malaria research. This will lead to significant acceleration in vaccine development and eventually malaria infection prevention for populations living or operating in tropical regions worldwide.