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Dana-Farber awarded $6.5 million federal grant to study development of universal vaccine against influenza A


Six-center national consortium to study changes in human immune system

Ellis Reinherz, MD

Ellis Reinherz, MD

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has awarded a group of researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute a $6.5 million, five-year grant to fund research focused on developing a universal vaccine against human influenza A viruses.

Ellis L. Reinherz, MD, faculty director of the Cancer Vaccine Center at Dana-Farber and a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, is the principal investigator for the Dana-Farber grant. The other Dana-Farber collaborators include Vladimir Brusic, PhD, Bruce Reinhold, PhD, Jonathan Duke-Cohan, PhD, Derin Keskin, PhD, and Guanglan Zhang, PhD.

"This grant will enable us to investigate a new approach in an effort to develop a T cell-based vaccine against human influenza A viruses," says Reinherz.

"Our ultimate goal is a vaccine that targets the conserved viral segments that cannot vary from one viral strain to another, thereby providing protection against all seasonal and pandemic flus. Such an advance will eliminate the need to alter the vaccine when there is a new global threat, as is necessary for current antibody-inducing approaches."

The grant is part of the NIAID's newly launched nationwide research initiative to define changes in the human immune system in response to infection or to vaccination.

Dana-Farber is one of six U.S.-based Human Immune Phenotyping Centers that collectively will receive a total of $100 million over five years to conduct this research.

The other centers are Baylor Research Institute, Dallas; Emory University, Atlanta; Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.; Stanford University, Calif.; and Yale University, New Haven, Conn. Support for the first year of this initiative will come from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

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