New partnership could lead to Malaria vaccination programme in less than two years

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A PARTNERSHIP to develop effective vaccine trials is now “a step closer” after a Midlothian-based bio printer manufacturer has partnered with a Kenyan based medical research group.

Arrayjet has partnered with The Kemri-Wellcome Trust based in Kilifi north-east of Mombasa to help try and develop a vaccine for the disease that kills half a million people in Africa every year.

The Kenyan Medical Research Institute (KMRI) will conduct the research alongside The Wellcome Trust and The University of Oxford and say ongoing trials could lead to a vaccination immunisation programme in less than two years.

KEMRI Marathon with Emily Chepsat - Research News Scotland
Malarial proteins printed onto slides and produced by the Arrayjet Marathon – here operated by KEMRI’s Emily Chapsat.

Iain McWilliam, CEO of Arrayjet commented: “For Arrayjet, a small Scottish life science company playing a key role in the continual development of anti-malarial vaccination, shows how critical our bioscience technologies are to the global health challenges faced by daily by millions of people.

Kemri-Wellcome Trust has used our microarrayer technology in recent years but has upgraded this to help increase the high throughput of printed protein arrays.

Moreover, we’re just please to be playing our role in unravelling the complexities of a highly contagious disease and this points to a new era of vaccinations being available to prevent malaria spreading as virulently as it does and of course, helping to save countless lives in the process.”

To advance its research, The Kemri-Wellcome Trust is using Arrayjet’s microarray technology to print Malaria proteins onto slides.

Human serum is then screened against every protein and an antibody-antigen profile generated for each sample.

This gives Kemri-Wellcome Trust scientists an insight into which Malaria proteins would make the best vaccine targets, thereby significantly advancing their research.

Faith Osler, an immunologist and leader of the research group at the Kemri-Wellcome Trust commented;

“If the early and encouraging results from our current research findings are anything to go by, new malaria vaccines could soon become available.

We know that vaccination is vitally important to help slow down infection rates and using Arrayjet’s technology to provide the necessary high-throughput of bio-printed microarrays  has helped our research team tremendously in their aim to bring an end to the misery and suffering caused by malaria to millions of people every year.”

Arrayjet is supported by investment from the Archangels business angel syndicate and Scottish Enterprise.