The chikungunya virus, which is spread by mosquitoes, causes high fever, severe joint pain, fatigue, and other symptoms. An experimental vaccine manufactured at the Pilot Plant appears to offer protection against the virus, according to results from first-in-human clinical trials. Feature image by A2-33 (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons.

An experimental vaccine for mosquito-borne chikungunya virus, which spread to the U.S. this year, appears to be safe and well-tolerated while offering protection against the virus, according to the results of a first-in-human clinical trial.

The vaccine—made from non-infectious virus-like particles (VLPs)—was manufactured at the Pilot Plant (formerly known as the Vaccine Pilot Plant), which is operated by the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

The chromosomes of an individual with the Ser270Asn-3 amino acid change have longer and more fragile telomeres than those of a healthy control (C2) group. Longer and more fragile telomeres point to a possible defect in telomere maintenance, which may be involved in melanoma development, according to this study.

Researchers, including staff of the Cancer Genomics Research Laboratory (CGR), Leidos Biomedical Research, have recently discovered POT1 as a major susceptibility gene for familial melanoma.

Allograft models were developed by transplanting tumor fragments into the ovaries of recipient mice. Tumor fragments were obtained from genetically engineered mouse (GEM) models that developed ovarian tumors after the induction of genetic alterations similar to those observed in human patients. These genetic events, within several months, lead to ovarian tumor development similar to what is seen in human serous epithelial ovarian cancer (SEOC). Using murine allograft models of SEOC results in faster tumor g

A new genetically engineered mouse model appears promising as an effective tool for preclinical testing of novel therapies for ovarian cancer, which tends to be diagnosed in late stage. There are few effective treatments for the disease.

Part of the challenge in developing new therapies for ovarian cancer is the lack of an accurate animal model to aid in preclinical testing of candidate drugs. Some genetically engineered mouse models do exist; however, these mice have not been optimized for preclinical studies, leading to high failure rates during subsequent human trials.

The figure shows the serial passage of minimally charged HIV into a series of pigtail macaques to adapt the virus, which became capable of causing AIDS in the monkeys, beginning after the third animal-to-animal passage (

In a research milestone reported in the June 20 issue of the journal Science, scientists have developed a minimally modified version of HIV-1, the virus that causes AIDS in infected humans, that is capable of causing progressive infection and AIDS in monkeys. The advance should help create more authentic animal models of the disease and provide a potentially invaluable approach for faster and better preclinical evaluation of new drugs and vaccines.

Evolutionary tree of mouse gut bacteria, with larger circles indicating greater abundance of bacteria.

Humans play host to trillions of microorganisms that help our bodies perform basic functions, like digestion, growth, and fighting disease. In fact, bacterial cells outnumber the human cells in our bodies by 10 to 1.1

The tens of trillions of microorganisms thriving in our intestines are known as gut microbiota, and those that are not harmful to us are referred to as commensal microbiota. In a recent paper in Science, NCI scientists described their discovery that, in mice, the presence of commensal microbiota is needed for successful response to cancer therapy.

From left, Darren Benedick and Mark Slatcoff set up the 80-L bioreactor for rhIL-15 production.

Cancer immunotherapy is a type of treatment in which the body’s own immune system is used to attack and kill cancer cells or keep them from spreading. To date, the immunotherapy agent interleukin-2 (IL-2) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treating certain types of melanoma and kidney cancer.1

A single dose of the cancer-fighting human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine Cervarix™ appears to induce an immune response that remains stable in the blood four years after vaccination. This may be enough to protect women from two strains of HPV and, ultimately, from cervical cancer.

Terry Van Dyke, Ph.D. Director, NCI Center for Advanced Preclinical Research

Scientists at NCI and Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research (FNLCR) are partnering with the Lustgarten Foundation to test whether a vitamin D derivative will make a difference when combined with a conventional anticancer drug in treating tumors of the pancreas.

Jeff Lifson

Scientists at the Oregon Health & Science University and the AIDS and Cancer Virus Program of the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research have used a novel vaccine approach to achieve a “functional cure” and apparent eradication of infection with a monkey version of the AIDS virus.

In a paper published online in Nature, the group reported success with an experimental vaccine for simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), an AIDS-inducing virus that infects rhesus macaques and is so similar to HIV that it is a widely used model for AIDS studies in monkeys.

Clostridium botulinum stained with Gentian violet. The bacterium produces a nerve toxin, which causes botulism, a rare, but serious paralytic disease. Image courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Nanotechnology Characterization Laboratory (NCL) is collaborating with the Army to develop a candidate vaccine against botulism.

Under a collaboration agreement between the National Cancer Institute and the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), NCL scientists will produce nanoparticle formulations for four compounds that block the activity of botulism-causing nerve toxins, which are among the most lethal of all poisons.

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