Publication News – Dr. Kenneth Ugen

Posted on September 18, 2015 by

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Dr. Kenneth Ugen co-edited a special issue of the journal Human Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics highlighting presentations from the 2014 DNA Vaccines Meeting held in San Diego, California. The meeting brought together DNA vaccine researchers from throughout the world. Papers presented at the meeting utilized the DNA vaccine strategy and targeted infections agents as well as cancers.  Dr. Ugen as well as a colleague from the University of Pennsylvania oversaw the review and editing of a number of papers submitted to the special issue based upon the presentations made at the meeting.

Dr. Ugen, was also a co-author of a paper appearing in the August 19,2015 issue of the high impact journal Science Translational Medicine (Impact Factor = 14.8). The paper entitled: “A synthetic consensus anti-spike protein DNA vaccine induces protective immunity against Middle East respiratory coronavirus in nonhuman primates”. The publication describes a study, spearheaded at the University of Pennsylvania and the National Institutes of Health, in which an experimental DNA vaccine against the Middle East respiratory coronavirus (MERS) virus, given 6 weeks before exposure to the MERS virus fully protects non-human primate monkeys from MERS disease. The vaccine also stimulated the production of potentially protective antibodies against MERS in blood drawn from vaccinated camels. Camels are a relevant animal models for testing vaccines since they are thought to be the major source of infection of humans.

The MERS virus represents an emerging infectious agent having first appeared in 2012 and has, to date, sickened approximately 1,500 people with the disease being characterized as a severe pneumonia. Of those affected approximately 500 have succumbed to the disease. There are currently no vaccines or therapies available against MERS associated disease. Therefore, the results of the studies presented in this paper provide a potential vaccine strategy, which might curb the spread of this serious emerging viral infection.

Ugen Photo 2

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