London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM)

LSHTM is a leading postgraduate institution for research and teaching in public and global health. It is the largest institution of its kind in Europe with a wide depth and breadth of expertise encompassing many disciplines. It is the world’s leading research-focussed graduate school, and ranked four in the world for research citations and in the top 100 universities worldwide for reputation. Its mission is “To improve health and health equity in the UK and worldwide”, working in partnership to achieve excellence in public and global health research, education and translation of knowledge into policy and practice. LSHTM has active cross disciplinary research centres for vaccines with over 100 personnel, and has the largest grouping of researchers working on TB in Europe.

Role in the TRANSVAC project

The role of LSHTM in the TRANSVAC2 project is to develop a sensitive human whole-blood assay to compare the potency of whole vaccines and vaccine antigens based on their ability to induce innate and adaptive cytokine and chemokine responses. These responses will be quantified using both commercial and customised Luminex bead arrays. Once developed, the assays will be used to analyse in vitro cytokine and chemokine induction, e.g. to compare different versions of a vaccine, or the same vaccine produced in different host cells, or different batches of a vaccine to demonstrate batch-to-batch reproducibility. Transnational access to this assay will then be provided.

Main staff involved in TRANSVAC

Professor Hazel M. Dockrell; Dr. Steven G. Smith;

The Facility

The Immunology laboratories offer Luminex facilities (including access to Luminex 100/200 and Magpix instruments). The group has over 10 years’ experience with this methodology, with specific expertise in cytokine/chemokine detection in tissue culture supernatants and plasma samples with panels containing up to 42 analytes. The group also has experience in the creation of custom panels for the analysis of pathogen specific immune responses with focus on innate and adaptive arms of the immune system.

TNA or Training provided

LSHTM will provide a whole-blood assay to compare the potency of vaccine candidates based on their ability to induce innate and adaptive cytokine and chemokine responses, detected by capturing the signalling molecules on customised or commercial Luminex bead arrays. This will be used to confirm the potency of vaccine candidates in a human immune system model, to compare different vaccines or the same vaccine produced in different expression hosts, or to ensure consistent production quality and batch-to-batch reproducibility, including the viability of live whole cell vaccines.

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