Vaccine preclinical testing platform - murine studies

Experimental murine validation platform - Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI), Braunschweig, Germany

The Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) is an application-oriented Centre from the Helmholtz Association of German Federal Research Centres (HGF) which carries out research on infection and immunity.  The activities of the Department of Vaccinology and Applied Microbiology are focused on the unravelling of the effector mechanisms involved in immune clearance, and the development and validation of prophylactic and therapeutic tools to combat infections.  The Institute has extensive facilities for cellular cultures and animal studies up to containment levels BSL2 and BSL3, nucleic acid and peptide array facilities, flow cytometry and sorting facilities, histopathology facilities, real-time PCR, automatic sequencing, Biacore, phosphoimaging, transmission- and scanning electron microscopy, fluorescent and confocal laser microscopy, and in vivo imaging.

As a partner of TRANSVAC, HZI will provide adjuvants and expertise to perform pre-clinical studies in the murine system to assess the immunogenicity, safety and efficacy of specific vaccine formulations. Breeding, housing, animal care and biotechnical expertise for mouse studies on a vaccine candidate (including sampling and standard immune monitoring), access to their rodent facility (mice) to carry out validation experiments for new vaccine candidates and/or vaccination strategies for Users.  Trained and experienced staff will carry out the standard procedures and the general maintenance.  This will be done in collaboration with the external User. The access will comprise: (i) the purchase and/or breeding of animals, including housing and animal care; (ii) support in the area of vaccinology to advise on the experimental design, vaccination protocol and methodology for the immune monitoring; (iii) conduction of immunisations and subsequent monitoring for the appearance of acute side effects, (iv) the sampling of blood and/or organs for the characterisation of the immunogenicity of the corresponding formulation(s); (v) performance of standard tests to characterise antigen-specific humoral and cellular immune responses at both systemic and mucosal territories (e.g., total antibodies and IgG subclasses in sera, secretory IgA, Th responses, CTL, Elispots, cytokines, etc.); (vi) documentation of results for all experiments conducted during the project; (vii) access to raw data; (viii) appropriate conservation and storing of biological samples, if required; (ix) data analysis in collaboration with external Users; and (x) advice and support for legal and ethical requirements, including preparation of applications for animal studies.

On-site access

Trained and experienced staff from HZI will carry out the standard procedures and the general maintenance. Upon request, the external User may acquire on-site access during sampling periods or other relevant procedures when compliant to the internal regulations of the HZI.

Modalities of access

Organisation short name: HZI

Unit of access: one mouse study.

Quantity of access available: This service is only available via paid access. Funding capacity for free services is exhausted.

Timelines: Approximately 10-12 weeks. This might be affected by the experimental conditions (e.g. evaluation of memory responses).

Overview of access provided between January 2011 (1st call) and July 2012 (7th call):
Min. quantity of access to be provided: 1
Estimated number of users/User groups: 1-4
Estimated number of projects: 1-4
Access already provided: 1
Access still available: 0

Last call submission date scheduled for: This service is only available via paid access. Funding capacity for free services is exhausted.

Input – sample requirements:

The User will be responsible for the timely delivery of test substances (antigens of appropriate purity to be tested or vaccine formulations), as well as for the reagents to perform the immune monitoring (e.g. antigens, peptides). Depending on the immunisation route, different volume restrictions might apply (7 µl sublingual, 20 µl intranasal, 50 µl intramuscular, 100 µl subcutaneous). Therefore, the test substance should be highly concentrated and preferably water soluble.

Output – deliverables to User:

Depending of the specific request, the Users can receive: (i) documentation of results for all experiments conducted during the project; (ii) access to raw data; (iii) appropriate conservation and storing of biological samples, if required; and/or (iv) data analysis. See also 'general description' above.

Optional Services NOT included in the free access:

Shipment of samples.

Contact

Carlos A. Guzman, MD PhD

carlos [dot] guzman [at] helmholtz-hzi [dot] de

+49 531 6181 4600