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University Children’s Hospital Basel
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Nicole Ritz's research focuses on enhancing current strategies to diagnose and prevent tuberculosis (TB) in children. This includes immunodiagnostic tests including interferon gamma release assays (IGRA), novel cytokine-based assays and other biomarkers for early detection of childhood TB. Her research interest also focuses on Bacille-Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine the only currently licenced vaccine against TB, in particular on specific and non-specific immune response including adaptive and innate immunity.
Jan Bonhoeffer's research strives to improve child health by preventing infectious diseases and optimizing treatment through improved diagnostics. His focus is on generating best evidence for benefit-risk assessment of vaccines with a global network of partners and health care databases. He is also investigating strategies to optimize antibiotic use by improving the diagnosis of respiratory tract infections in children.
Ulrich Heininger's main research interest lies in the field of pertussis, a respiratory tract disease caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. He and his national and international collaborators are focussing mainly on the epidemiology and prevention of pertussis by vaccination. Further, Ulrich Heininger is working on the general acceptance and impact of immunization per se amongst the public as well as health care workers.
Please note that not every project listed here was necessarily initiated by our group.
Study goal: This study aims to measure IgG anti-PT in Asian children aged 10-18 years. This will enable us to identify how many children have evidence of a recent pertussis infection defined by IgG anti-PT above 125 IU/mL and how many children are potentially susceptible to pertussis infection when exposed.
New Innovative Medicine Initiative (IMI)
2 project on the trail of next generation vaccines against pertussis (whooping
Despite the availability of
effective prophylactic vaccines against pertussis, there has been a rise in the
incidence of pertussis, with epidemics in Europe, Australia and the US in the
last decade. As well as being a particular problem in vulnerable infants, with
devastating consequences in developing countries, the incidence of pertussis is
also increasing in adolescents and adults, particularly in industrialized
countries. Hence, pertussis continues to be a major public health concern
The pan-European initiative PERISCOPE
sets out to accelerate improvement of prophylactic vaccines and vaccination
strategies for pertussis. The project is funded with a total budget of €28mio
over the next five years by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), a joint
undertaking of the European Commission and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical
Industries and Associations (EFPIA). Additionally, PERISCOPE is the first IMI
project to receive funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
"Given the resurgence
and changing epidemiology of pertussis in industrialized countries and the
persistent low level of vaccination coverage and high infant mortality caused
by pertussis in low income countries, PERISCOPE represents a concerted effort aiming
to accelerate the development of improved vaccination strategies that ensure
solid, long-lasting protection against infection", says Prof. Ronald de Groot
from Radboud University Medical Center and coordinator of PERISCOPE. "This implies, first
and foremost, that we need to gain a better understanding of the pathogenesis
and underlying mechanisms of the infection to be able to identify novel vaccine
candidates. However, it is equally important to rebuild the ecosystem for
pertussis research and the technical infrastructure needed in Europe to
successfully evaluate those novel candidates".
PERISCOPE will focus
on three major areas:
1) Setting up a comprehensive clinical research programme
to study the immune response of individuals of all ages
to pertussis infection and vaccination; 2) the establishment of parallel
clinical and pre-clinical models of pertussis infection, and 3) the development
of a comprehensive battery of state-of-the-art bioassays, to help reveal the markers of an effective and long-lasting
immune response to pertussis infection in both clinical and preclinical study
subjects. PERISCOPE will also seek to study immunization in pregnancy to gain a
better understanding of the impact of maternal antibodies on the infant’s
immune responses to pertussis.
In the frame of this ambitious project, Prof. Ulrich
Heininger will lead workpackage 4 with the goal to facilitate interaction with experts from regulatory
and public health agencies to ensure acceptance of novel and existing
biomarkers and facilitate improved design of small-scale Phase II/III trials.
PERISCOPE assembles a multi-national team of leading experts from 22 partnering institutions with long-standing experience in pertussis research, clinical trials, bioinformatics, immunology and public health. The consortium also includes Sanofi Pasteur and GlaxoSmithKline, two of the world’s largest and most experienced vaccine manufacturers, as industrial partners.
Name: PERISCOPE – PERtussIS COrrelates
of Protection Europe
Start date: 2016-03-01
Duration: 60 months
Coordination: Stichting Katholieke Universiteit, Radboud university medical center
More information about the project
Only available in German
PD Dr. med. Nicole Ritz is a clinician-scientist at the University Children's Hospital Basel (UKBB).
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