Grant awarded for anthrax vaccine development

The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Loyola University recently won a $3.5 million grant to develop an anthrax vaccine utilizing nanolipoprotein technology.

This will be the first time the U.S. National Institutes of Health has issued a biodefense grant focused on nanolipoprotein technology, a potential breakthrough in vaccine development, according to

Current vaccines are generally based on single protein derived from a specific pathogen that is identified and attacked by the immune system.

NLPs are mixed with specific pathogen-derived proteins and provide a base on which they can anchor. Essentially, NLPs act as a delivery unit for various kinds of pathogen-derived proteins.

"The NLP will become a platform for an entire new generation of treatments," LLNL scientist Paul Hoeprich said, reports. "The NLP will be like an operating system, and a wide range and variety of applications can be built for it."

NLPs have several potential benefits over traditional vaccines. Besides being a more flexible platform for vaccine formulation, they are also more durable, may not need refrigeration or special handling, and may also be administered by non-invasive methods, such as intra-nasally.

"Winning this grant is a direct result of the Lab identifying and nurturing our NLP technology and building the infrastructure to support the research,” Hoeprich said, according to “LLNL is the only Department of Energy facility with a BioSafety Level 3 lab. This investment is paying off with the NIH grant and five other NLP projects are under way...and we're just getting started."

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