Vaccines are fundamental in preventing debilitating illnesses and saving millions of lives each year. But despite these vaccine-oriented victories, infectious diseases are still the second leading cause of death as well as the leading cause of disability-adjusted life years worldwide. About six million deaths were attributed to AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis in regions where no vaccine is currently available. Other serious infectious diseases without vaccines include many sexually transmitted diseases, as well as parasitic, respiratory, and enteric diseases that afflict millions of people annually. More concerning is that the world must now cope with new and re-emerging diseases and increasing antimicrobial resistance. Governments have invested heavily in vaccine development over the past decades; however, many diseases remain challenging?primarily due to the evolved mechanisms of evasion that pathogens develop. Iterative approaches to vaccine development are necessary to overcome these mechanisms of evasion. Iterative approaches require combination approaches ?discovery of novel antigens, adjuvant and vectors in the preclinical stage with computational analyses of clinical data to accelerate vaccine design.? To facilitate these efforts, it is imperative to develop tools to get more and better information to the vaccine engineers faster, so that the next generation of vaccine can be developed. Wasatch proposes in this ?Direct to Phase II? SBIR project to develop a reengineered Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) platform that will pursue next-generation features for both vaccine research and increased throughput to get kinetics and epitope information to vaccine engineers early in the vaccine-development process. The project directly addresses the focus areas of special SBIR solicitation Direct Phase II SBIR Grants to Support Biomedical Technology Development. This new SPR system would allow direct-from-serum information to be gathered to improve the quality of the data and to greatly decrease the time required to gather it. We propose to significantly advance the current Wasatch Microfluidics SPR platform, which provide a solid foundation, via redesigned optics for improved sensitivity, individually valved channels to print optimal amounts of serum, and custom, next-generation software development effort to process the large amounts of data generated. In high-throughput screening mode, our 96-channel integrated SPR platform will be capable of collecting data from >40,000 samples in less than 24 hours?vs. the current 10,000 samples per day. Wasatch Microfluidics, Gary Cohen?s group at the University of Pennsylvania, and David Myszka of Biosensor Tools will pursue two Specific Aims: 1) Engineer a 384-channel SPRi array instrument to analyze 384 simultaneous multiplexed antigen vaccine serum samples with advances microfluidics, imaging, and software; and 2) Perform a vaccine characterization study by capturing total IgG out of guinea pig sera vaccinated and/or challenged with herpes virus.

Public Health Relevance

Vaccine research has received increasing interest due to the threat of emerging diseases, unique applications of vaccines (such as cancer), and the effectiveness of past vaccines; however, new vaccine development will require innovative new approaches built on immunogenicity modeling. We propose to develop high-throughput biosensors with improved throughput, sensitivity, and data processing for immunogenicity modeling to give researchers the opportunity to develop to create vaccines against communicable and highly adaptive viruses as well as unique diseases such as cancer. Vaccines research has saved more lives than any other medical advancement, and this technology could provide advances to improve the quality of life and to save the lives of countless more individuals.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Small Business Innovation Research Grants (SBIR) - Phase II (R44)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1)
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Natarajan, Ramya
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Carterra, Inc.
Salt Lake City
United States
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Cairns, Tina M; Ditto, Noah T; Lou, Huan et al. (2017) Global sensing of the antigenic structure of herpes simplex virus gD using high-throughput array-based SPR imaging. PLoS Pathog 13:e1006430