Updated on 6 June 2012
Dr Michael Danquah (left) and Dr Gareth Forde of Bio Engineering Laboratory who developed the BEL monolith technology
Can DNA vaccines be the answer to diseases such as malaria and influenza? Though DNA-based vaccines have emerged as appealing alternatives to conventional ones, there are still gaps to be filled for them to become commercial successes.
DNA-based vaccines, which are stable at ambient temperatures and easy-to-formulate, have great potential of handling such diseases. However, the world still lacks a rapid and commercially viable process of manufacturing DNA vaccines that include optimized purification technique, stationary adsorbent to allow high-vaccine recovery, low-processing time, and, high-productivity.
A technology developed by two researchers, Dr Gareth Forde and Dr Michael Danquah, at Bio Engineering Laboratory (BEL) within the Department of Chemical Engineering at Monash University, addresses this need. The BEL monolith technology is a response to the need for improved efficiencies in bioprocessing methodologies and purification of plasmid DNA for use in emerging DNA vaccine technologies.
The monolith, developed by the two researchers, is an innovative chromatographic adsorbent used to separate biomolecules ranging from 10 to 2000 nm in diameter. The monolith technology can be operated like any other conventional columns with axial flow, but at higher flow rates and low column back pressure. The monolith's pore size can be tailored for purification of any biomolecule. The targeted approach and unique monodispersity of the monolith binding pores enables higher binding capacities and streamlined processing when compared with existing adsorbents that have been traditionally designed for protein purification.
According to the team, this technology holds promises for both the industry and the research communities for its efficiencies and streamlined bioprocessing that enable improved quality of purified biomolecules at less cost and time.