Genocea Biosciences Inc. announced on Wednesday that it has discovered a series of antigens that could be a biomarker of malaria.
Genocea develops T-cell-directed vaccines and immunotherapies. It recently presented its findings at the 63rd annual meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in New Orleans. Its proprietary ATLAS antigen discovery medium revealed that malaria can leave a lasting dent on the immune system.
“This is one of the more unexpected findings coming out of our ATLAS antigen discovery platform since immunity to the parasite is thought to be short-lived,” Genocea’s Senior Vice President of Research Jessica Baker Flechtner said. “Understanding the natural history of responses to diseases as complex as malaria is a necessary first step toward the development of immunotherapies that prevent and treat disease. This finding paves the way for the identification of novel biomarkers indicating Pf exposure opens avenues for the development of new diagnostic tools and advances Genocea’s efforts to identify antigens that could form the basis of a future preventative medicine.”
In the study, funded in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, scientists found a cluster of 15 antigens that resemble those found in malaria infections. Volunteers who had recently emigrated from sub-Saharan Africa to the U.S. were the subjects of the study.