Researchers are working to develop a more durable form of the vaccine for measles, a disease that kills 22 people an hour worldwide.
Aired February 1, 2009
2 minutes 3.7 MB) | Download mp3
Researchers target an illness that takes the lives of young children. From the University of Kansas, this is Research Matters. I'm Brendan Lynch.
Every hour, 22 people die from measles, mainly in impoverished nations. The disease is most lethal to kids. Now, the Laboratory for Macromolecular and Vaccine Stabilization at KU has taken on the problem of making a more durable vaccine to prevent measles. Graduate student Julian Kissman led the research effort.
Kissmann: "It's funny when I told my mom that I was working on it she said, 'I remember getting you vaccinated for that, for one thing, and secondly, no one's had that since I was a kid.' And it's true we have an excellent vaccine here. It's extremely unstable, especially to temperature, In undeveloped counties where it hard to find a refrigerator Measles is still a problem because its hard to effectively deliver the vaccine."
The challenge for Kissman was to stabilize the virus that causes measles, which is the vaccine's main ingredient. If ultimately successful, the vaccine one day could be so stable that a shot is unneeded.
Kissmann: "The hope is to actually develop an inhalable dry powder version of the vaccine which would be a benefit for many reasons, not the least of which is that because children are the ones who seem to suffer the most from this disease, if you were able to administer the vaccine through an inhaler rather than a needle, I think you'd be much better off in terms of compliance and happiness."
Kissmann conducted the research into measles at the lab of Russell Middaugh, Distinguished Professor of Pharmaceutical Chemistry at KU, a man uniquely qualified to supervise work on a measles vaccine.
Kissmann: "Russ has a proven track record in formulating vaccines. In fact before he came to KU he was a one of the leading scientists a Merck. And he actually formulated the measles vaccine that we use in the United States today. So he's got a lot of experience with the disease and in general with formulating of vaccines. And so that's why I'm here as a student and I think that's why he was recognized as someone who whold be able to help with this new vaccine formulation."
For more on research into a new measles vaccine, log on to Research Matters dot KU dot EDU. For the University of Kansas, I'm Brendan Lynch.
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Researchers are working to develop a more durable form of the vaccine for measles, a disease that kills 22 people an hour worldwide.Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry