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Posted: October 29, 2008

Gates Foundation grant for nanopatch delivery of DNA-based malaria vaccines to skin

(Nanowerk News) The University of Queensland (UQ) announced that it has received a US$100,000 Grand Challenges Explorations grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The grant will support an innovative global health research project conducted by Professor Mark Kendall, titled “Nanopatch Delivery of DNA-Based Malaria Vaccines to Skin: Precisely Targeting the Skin Immune System for Radically Improved Vaccines.”
Professor Kendall’s project is one of 104 grants selected from nearly 4000 proposals –announced by the Gates Foundation for the first funding round of Grand Challenges Explorations, an initiative to help scientists around the world explore bold, new solutions for health challenges in developing countries. The grants were provided to all levels of scientists in 22 countries and five continents.
To receive funding, Professor Kendall showed in a two-page application how his idea falls outside current scientific paradigms and could lead to significant advances in global health if successful.
Professor Kendall, collaborating with Professor Adrian Hill from the University of Oxford, leads a team researching and developing Nanopatches to target immunologically-sensitive cells located in the outer layers of the skin, as a new and better way of vaccinating against malaria and other infectious diseases.
“Malaria kills 14 million people worldwide every year, so the potential impact in addressing this global health issue is enormous,” he said.
“Nanopatch devices are painless, needle-free, easy to use, cheap to manufacture and because they use a dry-coated vaccine, will not require refrigeration, which makes them very attractive for use in the developing world.
“I am very excited to receive this grant and my team is working very hard to meet the proof-of-concept milestone.
“By achieving this in the first 12 months, we will potentially be eligible for a further grant of US$1 million to move the project toward vaccine testing in humans.”
About Grand Challenges Explorations
Grand Challenges Explorations is a five-year $100 million initiative of the Gates Foundation to promote innovation in global health. The program uses an agile, streamlined grant process – applications are limited to two pages, and preliminary data are not required. Proposals are reviewed and selected by a committee of foundation staff and external experts, and grant decisions are made within approximately three months of the close of the funding round.
Applications for the second round of Grand Challenges Explorations are being accepted through November 2, 2008, and topics for the third round will be announced in early 2009. Grant application instructions, including the list of topic areas in which proposals are currently being accepted, are available at www.gcgh.org/explorations.
Source: University of Queensland