Vaccine Development Chagas Disease

Chagas disease (American trypanosomiasis caused by Trypanosoma cruzi), transmitted by triatomines (kissing bugs), affects by some estimates as many as 9-10 million people around the world. In total, combining years of life lost and years lived with disability, Chagas disease causes the loss of approximately 0.6 million disability-adjusted life years, a measure integrating a disease’s morbidity and mortality.

A unique  product development partnership seeks to address the need for new therapeutics for Chagas disease by developing and testing vaccine candidate antigens that would eventually comprise a multivalent therapeutic vaccine. One of the components of this vaccine will likely be a unique T. cruzi 24 kDa antigen, Tc24, which is being produced at Texas Children's Hospital Center for Vaccine Development with funding from the Carlos Slim Institute for Health, SWE Medical Research Institute, and The Robert J. Kleberg Jr. and Helen C. Kleberg Foundation.

As the final product, we envision a stand-alone product to halt the progression of Chagas disease, or a complimentary therapy that will bridge the tolerability and efficacy gaps of current chemotherapy, ultimately delaying or halting the progression of chagasic cardiomyopathy. 

Current activities include process development of Tc24 as well as the exploration of the feasibility of expression of other candidate antigens. We are also evaluating pre-clinical animal models for infection-induced cardiac symptoms. 

Trypanosoma cruzi parasite

Trypanosoma Cruzi 

Trypanosoma cruzi parasite at trypomastigote stage seen in the gut contents of a kissing bug, Triatoma sanguisuga, using dark field microscopy. This particular kissing bug was captured in Conroe, Texas. 

Triatoma sanguisuga (kissing bug)

Triatoma sanguisuga 

Shown here is a kissing bug (specifically in this case Triatoma sanguisuga), the Chagas disease vector--this one was found in Conroe, Texas, and tested positive for the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi.

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