Viral Vector Core Facility

Contact: Alison Turner, Vector Core Manager
Tel: +44 (0)1865 617621
Email: ali.turner@ndm.ox.ac.uk

Background

The Institute's Vector Core Facility produces all recombinant viral vaccines required by Jenner Investigators and also supplies external academic and industrial collaborators. A major bottleneck in vector use and development has been the small number of scientists, particularly immunologists, with access to expertise in generation of recombinant viral vectors.

The purpose of the facility is to generate a wide range of recombinant vectors and provide these in adequate yield, with appropriate quality control, for all Institute scientists.

Viral vectors

The majority of new vaccine candidates developed by Jenner Investigators have been viral vectors, which have the capacity to induce strong protective T cell responses against
pathogens.

For example, the Institute's Malaria Vaccine ali_merge2Programme has taken MVA, fowlpox (FP9) and simian adenoviral vectors to clinical trials using a prime-boost approach (adenovirus or FP9 priming and MVA boosting).

Using adenovirus vectors as the priming immunisation results in strong antibodies as well as T cell responses, extending the range of applications for this technology.

Extending the range of target diseases

A major objective of the facility will be to extend the range of diseases against which viral vectors are developed. For several years these have been used in malaria, HIV and TB programmes but extended recently to clinical development in influenza and HCV and to initial testing in bovine tuberculosis, theileriosis and avian influenza. Adenoviral vectors will also be evaluated both to enhance cellular immunity and to reduce virus transmission from infected animals for the control of foot and mouth disease.

Veterinary applications

Adenoviral vectors provide the most potent approach to inducing CD8+ T cell responses in humans and are probably the best vectors for antibody induction, and offer an opportunity for veterinary vaccinology. The lack of natural anti-vector immunity in cattle, birds and other animals to the most immunogenic human serotype, AdHu5, overcomes one of the principal challenges in developing adenoviruses for large scale veterinary use.

We welcome opportunities for collaboration or business partnership; enquiries can be directed to Dr Alison Turner: ali.turner@ndm.ox.ac.uk.