VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Feb. 25, 2014) - Chlamydia is one of the most widespread sexually transmitted bacterial diseases in the world, causing an estimated 92 million infections globally per year, with over 11,000 infections last year in BC alone. With existing treatment programs failing to stem the spread of infection, a vaccine is widely acknowledged as the only way to prevent the suffering and significant infertility caused by Chlamydia (C. trachomatis), the causative agent for the disease.
Recent advances in mass spectrometry technology, proteomics, genomics and Chlamydia immunology have resulted in significant advancements towards vaccine development. Through its Proof-of-Concept (POC) program Genome BC is funding the necessary pre-clinical studies to move a novel Chlamydia vaccine to human trials.
"Investment into public health is of significant importance to our province," says Dr. Alan Winter, President and CEO of Genome BC. "Genome BC remains committed to funding research that will result in practical, societal benefits and these projects demonstrate that."
Dr. Robert Brunham of the BC Centre for Disease Control is leading the POC project entitled "Accelerating the Development of a Novel Outer Membrane Protein Based Vaccine Against Chlamydia Infection". The project, in partnership with the Canadian not-for-profit Pan-Provincial Vaccine Enterprise Inc. (PREVENT), is expected to run over the next 21 months and will also include US Food and Drug Administration filings for anticipated clinical grade vaccine production.
The market profile for a Chlamydia vaccine is expected to be similar to the HPV vaccine currently on the market, which is now part of publicly funded healthcare and beginning to reduce HPV rates among Canadians.
In addition to the Chlamydia project Genome BC is funding five additional projects through the fifth and sixth round of funding for POC program. These six projects represent an investment of $2.6 million and the POC program represents a total investment of $9.5 million for new genomics and life sciences-related research projects. These investments are increasingly being recognized for the strategic and far-sighted activities undertaken with the research. Other projects being funded include:
- Intravesical Docetaxel Formulation for the Treatment of Ta/T1 Stage Bladder Cancer led by Dr. Helen Burt of the University of British Columbia (UBC)
- Commercial Development of Lipid Nanoparticle Reagents for Functional Genomics in Difficult-to-Transfect Cells In Vitro and In Vivo led by Dr. Pieter Cullis at UBC
- Pre-Commercial Development of High-Performance Microfluidic Single-Cell Whole Genome Amplification led by UBC's Dr. Carl Hansen
- Simultaneous Lung and Cardiac Gated Radiotherapy using Electrical Impedance Technology: Prototype Development led by Dr. Kirpal Kohl of the BC Cancer Agency
- Raman Quantification of Cancer Biomarkers for Early Lung Cancer Detection led by Drs. Reuven Gordon & Fraser Hof at the University of Victoria
The Proof-of-Concept program is currently accepting applications for the seventh round of funding. For more information please visit our website: www.genomebc.ca/poc
About Genome British Columbia:
Genome British Columbia is a catalyst for the life sciences cluster on Canada's West Coast, and manages a cumulative portfolio of over $625M in research projects and science and technology platforms. Working with governments, academia and industry across sectors such as forestry, fisheries, agriculture, environment, bioenergy, mining and human health, the goal of the organization is to generate social and economic benefits for British Columbia and Canada. Genome BC is supported by the Province of British Columbia, the Government of Canada through Genome Canada and Western Economic Diversification Canada and more than 300 international public and private co-funding partners. www.genomebc.ca