Vaccines for COVID-19, which were developed using a platform invented by Drew Weissman and Katalin Kariko, were the first time that mRNA technology was used to address a worldwide health challenge.
Now, this Nobel Prize-winning technology is paving the way for a wide range of potential treatments.
Weissman’s lab, for example, is involved in various projects, including developing vaccines for malaria, leptospirosis, peanut allergies, and autoimmunity using the mRNA technology. Clinical trials are underway for new vaccines addressing malaria, genital herpes, and all varieties of coronaviruses. The lab is also exploring mRNA technology for gene therapies targeting sickle cell anemia and heart diseases.
Additionally, Weissman has partnered in building 18 mRNA-capable Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) sites to date across the world. These GMPS are a type of specialized production facility that can make drugs and vaccines for human use, and they are beginning with manufacturing vaccines in low- and middle-income countries.
Collaboration is a key component for the global reach of Penn Medicine’s mRNA research, and is made possible by Weissman’s new lab space in One uCity Square, which allows his lab to partner with colleagues across teams.
Learn more about this technology and its applications here.