Viswa Teja Colluru
Graduate Student, Cellular and Molecular Biology Program
COO Night Time Science
Bachelor of Technology in Biotechnology, 2011
GITAM College of Engineering- Andhra University, Visakhapatnam, India
Demystifying Plasmid-DNA Vaccines
McNeel laboratory is involved in the production, testing and employment of therapeutic Plasmid-DNA vaccines for the treatment of prostate cancer. DNA vaccines harbor a gamut of advantages including enhanced safety, ease of handling, economic feasibility, obviating handling of pernicious pathogens, robust elicitation of cellular and humoral immunity in pre-clinical models and facile modification among others. DNA vaccine therapy has recently received USDA approval for employment in animals (dogs, horses and pigs) but has been constantly plagued by unsatisfactory immune-responses in humans. The large size of these target animals debunks the long held belief that the somewhat disappointing immunogenicity of DNA vaccines in a number of human trials is due to the heavy body mass of humans in comparison to the mouse model. This scenario warrants an in-depth look at molecular mechanisms regulating the uptake and processing of DNA vaccines in humans. Viswa’s project focused on holistically evaluating the interaction of pDNA with human cells and uncovering cell populations/ favorable extracellular milieus necessary and/or conducive to the elicitation of a robust immune response to DNA vaccines. The information accrued thereby will be utilized to launch an informed, focused and comprehensive effort to potentiate existing DNA vaccine treatment modalities in humans.