Biomedical Primate Research Centre (BPRC)

BPRC is an independent non-profit research foundation with self-sustaining breeding colonies of macaques (Macaca spp.) and common marmosets (Calithrix jacchus). The mission of BPRC is to perform fundamental and applied research using non-human primates, with the aim to identify, develop and test new vaccines and medicines for diseases that cause misery and large numbers of deaths in the human population worldwide and only when there are no suitable alternatives. BPRC also has an active programme to develop alternatives for animal experiments following the ethical principles of reduction, refinement and replacement (3Rs). BPRC housing and animal care procedures comply with Dutch law, European Directive 2010/63/EU, and with the “Standards for Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals by Foreign Institutions”, identification number A5539-01, provided by the Department of Health and Human Services of the US National Institutes of Health. BPRC is AAALAC accredited.

Role in the TRANSVAC project

BPRC is involved in research and training activities and provides access to several aspects of vaccine development within TRANSVAC2. Research activities are focussed on the development and validation of state of the art assays for protein expression systems and the structural and functional characterization of vaccine candidates. BPRC is also involved in the development of assays and biomarkers for the predictive value of animal models in vaccine evaluation. BPRC provides access to 1) P. pastoris based protein expression systems, 2) cell-based reporter assays for characterization of innate immune receptor induced signalling cascades, and 3) macaques for immunogenicity/adjuvanticity evaluation of vaccine candidates for diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, HIV, influenza, West Nile virus, Zika virus, Rift Valley fever virus or dengue virus. Training on statistics of vaccine evaluation is offered.

Main staff involved in TRANSVAC

J. Langermans, PhD; F. Verreck: PhD; C. Kocken, PhD; W. Bogers, PhD; G. Koopman, PhD; E. Remarque, PhD; J. Bajramovic, PhD; B. Faber: PhD; K. Haanstra, PhD;

The Facility

At BPRC non-human primate (NHP) models of infectious diseases are available in high quality, using purpose-bred and MHC-typed animals. Animals are housed in up-to-date facilities, complying with international and legal standards at biocontainment level BSL2 and BSL3. Expert scientific, veterinary, surgical and biotechnical support is provided to the users of the facility. Animal health is monitored in house, with services for microbiology, pathology and haematology/serum chemistry available at biocontainment level ML2 and ML3. Facilities for PET-CT, in situ data-logger expertise and equipment for non-invasive quantification of disease progression and therapeutic intervention is available. Expert scientific support is available for immunology and immunopathology research in NHP, for monitoring of cellular and humoral immune-reactivity, ELISA, ELISPOT and Luminex technology for ex vivo cytokine production, flow-cytometry and FACS sorting, and immunohistochemistry.

TNA or Training provided

TNA1: BPRC will provide access to its P. pastoris systems, which allow the constitutive or inducible expression of intracellular or secreted proteins. BPRC will also provide P. pastoris strains overexpressing chaperone/helper proteins to boost expression levels. TNA3: BPRC will offer access to its library of human cell reporter assays for the identification of innate immune receptor-induced signalling cascades, including human cell lines transfected with PAMPs such as TLR and/or engineered to express luciferase in response to NF-kB or IFRE-mediated signal transduction, and cell lines that provide insight into the intracellular signalling cascades of innate immune receptors. These lines allow for qualitative and quantitative assessment of innate immune responses provoked by different stimuli, resulting in innate immune response fingerprints. TNA8: BPRC will provide access to macaques for immunogenicity/adjuvanticity evaluation of vaccine candidates for malaria, tuberculosis, HIV, influenza, West Nile virus or dengue virus, with up to three (prime-boost) immunisation events. The service includes baseline assessments and post-vaccination follow-up by biosample collection, as well as standard and/or user specific humoral and/or cellular immunology tests. Additional study objectives, such as challenge or advanced immunological assessments or imaging, may be discussed. NA3: BPRC will provide a five-day module on Statistics of vaccine evaluation. It will address statistical and methodological topics for the pre-clinical and clinical evaluation of vaccines and includes lectures followed by hands-on training.

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