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June 18, 2005 - Image 2

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2005-06-18

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2 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, July 18, 2005

4

ROCK 'N' READ

Grant given to develop
vaccine for world's poor

Nasal, heat-resistant
vaccines being created
for easier, accessible
immunizations
By Muhammad Saloom Khan
Daily Staff Reporter
Scientists at the Michigan Nan-
otechnology Institute for Medi-
cine and Biological Sciences have
received a $6.3 million grant
that they will use to work on the
development and testing of a more
efficient vaccine delivery system.
This new system should eliminate
the need for vaccine refrigeration
and the use of needles.
M-NIMBS recently received
the Grand Challenges in Global
Health Initiative grant, which
was created to find solutions for
problems afflicting developing
countries. One of the primary
donors to the grant was the Bill
and Melinda Gates Foundation,.
which contributed $450 million to
the initiative.
Overall, the Grand Challenges
in Global Health Initiative has
given 43 grants to scientists in
33 different countries, totalling
$436.6 million.

Dr. James R. Baker, Jr., director
of M-NIMBS and the study's lead
investigator, is working on devel-
oping better methods for vaccine
dispersal and use. Baker said that
getting the grant was vital to suc-
cessfully researching nasal vacci-
nations.
"(The Grand Challenges grant)
is very important because we are
changing the way vaccines are
administered. Instead of using
needles we will use nanoscopic
oil droplets placed in the nose.
This will allow the vaccine to
be given in remoter parts of the
world that cannot afford needles,"
Baker said.
Baker added that their research
on heat-stable vaccines will help
poor countries that cannot afford
to keep vaccines refrigerated. The
mixture of vaccine and microscop-
ic emulsion of water and oil give
a protective coat against heat and
contamination and are also cost
effective and easy to make.
"In addition, this is a unique
vaccine vehicle because it does not
need to be refrigerated. This means
you could distribute in areas like
Africa that aren't able to maintain
medicines in the cold. Therefore
this proposal could totally change
vaccine therapy throughout the

developing world," Baker said.
The grant will last five years
and Baker hopes to begin human
clinical trials within the first two
years of receiving the grant. The
hepatitis B vaccine will be used
in the trials with the hope that the
research will permit other vac-
cines to be used later.
The Grand Challenges grant
will go to support activities that
are not covered by traditional
funding, such as human trials in
Africa. Despite that M-NIMBS
has received more than $40 mil-
lion in previous grants for nano-
*tech development, the Grand
Challenges grant will fund other
fields not significantly supported
by previous donations.
On the foundation's website, Bill
Gates, co-founder of the Bill and
Melinda Gates Foundation, said,
"It's shocking how little research
is directed toward the diseases of
the world's poorest countries. By
harnessing the world's capacity
for scientific innovation, I believe
we can transform health in the
developing world and save mil-
lions of lives."
The University Board of Regents
has approved the funding for a new
M-NIMBS facility but no date has
been set for the project to begin.

Derek Berk drums for the band The High Strung at a performance in the
Ann Arbor Public Library on Friday, July 15. The band is touring libraries
in Michigan as part of the "Rock & Roll Library Tour," designed to
encourage students to visit their local library.

4

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