[Excerpt - editing below is mine]
Public release date: 26-Sep-2013
Contact: Bill Seiler
University of Maryland Medical Center
Baltimore, MD - September 26, 2013 - The University of Maryland School
of Medicine's Center for Vaccine Development (CVD) has successfully
competed for and received a renewed contract to conduct basic research
and clinical studies of vaccines, diagnostics, and therapeutics. Support
for this work to combat existing and emerging infectious diseases is
provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
(NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
According to Dr. Kotloff, the NIAID expanded its required scope of
expertise to qualify as a VTEU for this most recent contract
competition. "Future projects are likely to use molecular tools that are
now available to design better vaccines and to unmask signals that lead
to immunity, while avoiding side effects," she says. As a result, the
CVD team has augmented its multidisciplinary collaboration with
colleagues at the University of Maryland Institute for Genome Sciences
and the School of Pharmacy, both located on the University of Maryland
campus in Baltimore.
The new VTEU contract has more emphasis on international studies, compared with previous contracts.
"This emphasis on global health is a great match for the CVD because
our center has a large geographic reach to facilitate clinical studies
in several African and Asian countries as well as Santiago, Chile," says
E. Albert Reece, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., vice president for medical
affairs at the University of Maryland and the John Z. and Akiko K.
Bowers Distinguished Professor and Dean of the University of Maryland
School of Medicine. "The Center's domestic and international staff
includes experts in a variety of fields, ranging from molecular biology
and immunology, to internal medicine and pediatrics, to epidemiology and
biostatistics, positioning the School of Medicine to contribute
significantly to the development and testing of novel vaccines and novel
vaccine delivery systems."
A strength of the VTEUs is their ability to rapidly enroll large numbers
of volunteers into trials. This rapid-response capability is especially
important for testing vaccines designed to counteract emerging public
health concerns, such as the vaccine against the 2009 H1N1 influenza
virus, which has become a component of the seasonal flu vaccine. Earlier
this month, the VTEUs launched a national, multi-center trial of a
vaccine aimed to prevent an especially virulent avian influenza virus,
H7N9, which emerged in people early in 2013.