Search for a placental malaria vaccine leads to breakthrough in cancer research

30 October 2015

A placental malaria vaccine research and development project at the Faculty of Medical Health and Science of the University of Copenhagen leads to an encouraging discovery  in the fight against cancer.

While testing a placental malaria vaccine candidate at University of Copenhagen, the team discovered that a carbohydrate which drives the growth of cancer cells in the placenta, is used by malaria parasites to attach to the placenta.  Recreating the protein used by the malaria parasite to attach to the placenta and combining it with a toxin proves lethal for tumors.  This discovery is directly linked to the PAMCPH (http://www.euvaccine.eu/portfolio/project-index/pamcph) project supported by EVI and funded by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research, Germany through KfW and the Danish Innovation Foundation.

The work is published by Ali Salanti et al. in Cancer Cell on “Targeting Human Cancer by a Glycosaminoglycan Binding Malaria Protein”: http://www.cell.com/cancer-cell/abstract/S1535-6108%2815%2900334-7.  See also the press release http://www.gizmag.com/malaria-vaccine-pregnant-cancer/39816/.