Towards the establishment of the PREVAIL Centre, a Centre for PREcision in VAccine ImpLmentation at the Telethon Kids Institute
Tom Snelling, Jason Waithman, Anthony Bosco, Pat Holt, Anita Van Den Biggelaar, Yue Wu, Bree Foley, Marie Estcourt
Vaccines are estimated to have reduced global deaths of infants and children by 95% since the beginning of last century, and continue to save millions of lives a year. However, the mechanisms by which vaccines protect children is poorly understood for many vaccines, and we are still unable to predict how a child will respond to a vaccine. Vaccine failures and adverse events associated with immunisation are a major reason why some parents are reluctant to get their children vaccinated; this poses substantial risk to the on-going success of vaccination programs.
Understanding how and why children respond differently to vaccines is likely to have significant impact on how vaccine programs of the future are implemented. The development of 'omic' technologies in recent years now makes it possible to understand how the whole of a person's body responds to a vaccine and to align this information with how well vaccines protect or cause reactions.
This project value-adds to existing studies being conducted by the Wesfarmers Centre of Vaccine and Infectious Diseases, including a clinical trial looking at infant responses to different types of whooping cough vaccine and their relationship with allergy. This funding allows us to build on this existing work by exploring the transcriptomic and cellular phenomic profiles of infants following routine vaccination. These data will be aligned with clinical outcomes using computational analysis to generate a model for predicting how an individual will respond to a vaccine.
Such models are essential if we are to realise our vision of a personalised rather than a one-size-fits-all approach to vaccination. Establishing a collaboration of clinicians, immunologists and systems biologists across Telethon Kids will harness the strengths of the Institute to make the most of clinical data obtained in infant vaccine studies. The program will initially focus on children with particular disease-risk phenotypes, but will ultimately lead to optimizing health and wellness for all children