Personalized Medicines and the Revolution in Vaccine Technology

Clinicians will need new materials and technologies as medicine becomes more personalized.

Bjorn Lundgren, Marketing Director, GE Healthcare, speaking Tuesday at the 2010 World Vaccine Congress in Lyon, France, said that “in order to protect patients, all materials used for personalized medicines should be disposables. They also need to be very simple to set up and operate.” According to Lundgren, doctors and nurses do not have time to prepare, equilibrate, and calibrate cell culture production systems in a clinical setting, so it “is not feasible to have separate controls for each and every vessel used for individual preparation,” he said. Apart from temperature equilibration, the materials need to be ready to use directly from the supplier. “They also need to be environmentally friendly, as these materials might be applied in very large numbers, depending on the type of therapy where they are applied. The cost of these systems may be high, but not as expensive when compared to costly therapies and surgeries or equipment used in industry,” Lundgren said.

Vaccines are one of the most effective medical interventions, saving life and reducing healthcare costs. Initially, vaccines comprised inactivated/weakened bacteria and viruses, but today vaccines are becoming complex biomaterials with higher demands on purity and targeted efficacy. According to Lundgren, the revolution in vaccine production has resulted from the availability of new technologies and now covers a broad spectrum, ranging from polysaccharide and conjugated polysaccarides and plasmid DNA (particularly in veterinary medicine), to recombinant proteins, cells, siRNA, and peptides. These technologies are applied to a variety of diseases and medical conditions including infectious diseases, cancer, neurological diseases, and allergies.

”In order to manufacture the plethora of new vaccines, a wide range of tools is needed within cell culture, filtration, chromatography, density gradient separation, synthesis, and analytics,” Lundgren said. GE Healthcare provides all of these technologies, and ”Our ’healthymagination’ program to address global healthcare needs and to make healthcare sustainable aims to help our customers provide healthcare at a lower cost, to more people, with improved quality,” said Lundgen.

GE Healthcare, is a ”tool and solution provider” that supports advances in vaccine development through meeting the manufacturing solutions needs of clients, Lundgren said. This includes develoing technologies to support manufacturing, upstream/downstream processing and analytics, cell culture, filtration, chroatography, oligsynthesis, and peptide synthesis. GE Healthcare also works with cell separation technologies, process optimization tools, high-throughput chromatography screening, filter optimization systems, standard as well as customized engineering systems and chromatography media, standard products regenerated with NaOH, and products intended for “aseptic” processing.