Summary, EVI Rendez-Vouz 2012
EVI Rendez-Vous 2012 attendees.
On 6th December, the European Vaccine Initiative (EVI) held its second EVI Rendez-Vous in Heidelberg, during which researchers from various projects, supported or coordinated by EVI, presented their latest findings. The presentations covered preclinical, clinical and harmonisation activities, and in addition talks by several guest speakers were given on topics close to EVI’s core activities. The key note presentation was given by Prof. Paul Kaye, University of York, United Kingdom, who informed the audience, consisting of approximately 80 researchers and other vaccine development stakeholders, as to the latest progress in his laboratory in the development of a focal therapeutic vaccine against leishmaniasis, due to enter into clinical trial in 2013, which aims to reduce the transmission of this disease, which affects some 350 million people in nearly 100 countries. During his talk, Prof. Kaye lamented the difficult funding situation for research on diseases of poverty, despite their tremendous socio-economic impact on affected communities.
Prof. G Corradin and Prof. M Thera.
The projects presented with preclinical activities included the PRIMALVAC project funded by multiple agencies, aiming at the development of a Pregnancy-Associated Malaria (PAM) vaccine. PAM is a type of severe malaria affecting a particularly vulnerable section of the population – pregnant women. An infrastructure project related to vaccine development funded by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Programme was also presented. The usefulness of the various services provided under the TRANSVAC project to researchers from both the public and private sector, was stressed by several scientists that had benefited from these services, highlighting the importance of developing a European Vaccine Development Infrastructure under the up-coming Horizon 2020 framework programmes. Several clinical vaccine development projects were presented, pinpointing promising malaria vaccine candidates undergoing clinical development in phases I and even II. Several speakers highlighted difficulties encountered during the preparation and implementation of their clinical trials, the issues faced, including legal and intellectual property aspects, ethics-related issues, and other regulatory and insurance problems, amongst others.
Opening with Key note speaker, Prof. Paul Kaye and Dr. Odile Leroy
The meeting ended with a session on harmonisation, during which the speakers stressed that the lack of harmonisation of assays and data safety collection and approaches used in research and development, had led to scepticism as to the comparability of results obtained by different institutions. The impressive progress achieved through harmonisation efforts in the cancer immunotherapy field was presented, and all speakers strongly encouraged scientists to enhance their harmonisation efforts. Odile Leroy, Executive Director of EVI, closed the meeting with thanks to all speakers and other participants for their contributions and for the interesting discussions that had been generated.
 Co-funded by the German Ministry for Research and Education (BMBF) through KfW, Irish Aid, through EVI, the Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale (Inserm) and the Institut National de la Transfusion Sanguine (INTS)