Making It Personal - Volume 1 - Issue 1

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Making It Personal - February 2014 - Volume 1, Issue 1

Discovering personalized immune-based therapies to conquer cancers and infectious diseases

Welcome to the first edition of “Making It Personal”, the VGTI Florida newslettercelebrating biomedical discoveries that are capable of harnessing the power of the patient’s own immune system to selectively target and eradicate disease.

As a non-profit research institute, we rely on the philanthropy and altruism of our donors and sponsors,and we want to report on your support of our mission. And we’re pleased to announce that a very generous benefactor has pledged a $100,000 matching gift! Will you help us hit that mark and advance tomorrow’s cures?


VGTI Florida Presents at Palm Beach’s World-Famous Breakers Hotel at PBBG Biotech Breakfast

Palm Beach’s Breakers Hotel was the setting for the Palm Beach Business Group’s Annual Biotech Breakfast on Nov. 3, 2013, where Douglas Calder, VGTI Florida’s new Director of Strategic Planning reported on the breakthrough biomedical discoveries being made at VGTI Florida.

Doug urged the audience of more than 200,“The best way to understand the impact that our world-class team of scientists is having on the future treatment of cancers and infectious diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, is to come tour VGTI Florida, and see our research labs in action firsthand.” The award-winning,100,000 sq. ft. facility located at the Tradition Center for Innovation in Port St. Lucie currently has 120 employees committed to finding cures.

In addition, a prestigious philanthropic panel emphasized the urgent need for local philanthropic support due to reduced federal research funding. This panel was composed of: Ambassador Nancy Brinker, Chairman of the Susan G. Komen Foundation (Race for the Cure); William Meyer, Chairman of the Quantum Foundation, and William Koch, CEO of Oxbow Inc., a worldwide energy company. VGTI Florida thanks this esteemed panel for their continued commitment and generosity in supporting the life sciences in South Florida!


Did You Get Your Flu Vaccine Yet?

If a Single Universal Flu Vaccine Could Offer Durable,Years-Lasting Protection Against All Strains of Influenza?

VGTI Florida’s Dr. Ted Ross Presents to the Rotary Club of Vero Beach

With the flu season peaking earlier than normal this season and with the return of the H1N1 Swine Flu, which poses a serious danger to even young, healthy adults, health-care workers are now urging everyone to get a flu shot. But what if a single flu shot of a more "universal flu vaccine" could effectively protect us all against flu regardless of season-to-season variation? This broad protection could decrease the need for most to get a flu shot each year. This is the approach that is soon to reach human clinical trials according to Dr. Ted Ross, Program Director of Vaccines and Viral Immunity at VGTI Florida.

On January 2, 2014, Dr. Ross presented to a group of community leaders at the Rotary Club of Vero Beach, hosted at the Vero Beach Yacht Club, where he reported on the exciting progress being made in developing a novel platform technology that is expected to produce more effective or protective vaccinations against virtually any flu virus threat, using a manufacturing process that is significantly faster and more efficient than current methods.

"With the influenza virus, we see significant mutations evolve very quickly, so vaccine developers are always playing catch-up; trying to predict what new strains will evolve next and most are using 50-year-old manufacturing technologies," stated Dr. Ross. "This is an inexact science, and despite modern advances in medicine, we're still seeing nearly 40,000 patients a year dying from the flu in the U.S. alone, with many more hospitalized with serious and life-threatening complications. However, by targeting specific regions of the virus spike protein, called hemagglutinin, we are creating a new kind of vaccine at VGTI Florida that will train the immune system to fend off an attack from any kind of flu type, regardless of seasonal variation – in our view, the most effective type of vaccine approach that will curb any future pandemics."

Dr. Ross and his VGTI Florida colleagues are applying this same approach to fight other serious viruses such as West Nile Virus, Dengue and HIV Type 1 (HIV-1).

Come Meet VGTI Florida in the Community: Upcoming Events
February 11 – The Vero Beach Exchange Luncheon
March 6 – The Vero Beach Rotary Club Luncheon
March 26 – The West Palm Beach Kiwanis Club Luncheon
March 27 – The Palm Beach Lecture Series

For details on these and other events, please call the VGTI Florida Events Hotline at: 772-345-5678


The HBO Documentary - The Battle Of amfAR

Dr. Raymond Schinazi, who serves on the Board of Directors for VGTI Florida and amfAR, makes a brief appearance in the film!

The HBO Documentary, The BATTLE of amfAR, chronicles the story of how a Hollywood movie star, Elizabeth Taylor, and a Swiss research scientist, Dr. Matilde Krim, joined forces to create America’s first AIDS research organization, known today as The Foundation for AIDS Research, or amfAR.

Dr. Raymond Schinazi, who serves on the Board of Directors for VGTI Florida and amfAR, makes a brief appearance in the film, joining a discussion with actor/director, Woody Allen, on the mission to cure HIV/AIDS. VGTI Florida is currently playing a role in that mission, having received important grant funding from amfAR with key research that is ongoing right now.

An influential scientist, inventor, educator, and entrepreneur, Dr. Schinazi’s remarkable accomplishments include commercialized inventions that have revenues of over $2 billion per year; in fact, more than 94% of HIV-infected individuals take at least one of the medicines he invented, saving millions of lives.


You Can Make A Difference Too...

by Joining the VGTI Florida Mission! With your generous, tax-deductable gift, you can invest in accelerating the discovery and delivery of innovative immune-based therapies such as personalized cancer vaccines and novel immune-based therapies to cure infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS.

We also invite you to tour VGTI Florida, see our research labs in action and witness the innovation being advanced by our world-class teams of scientists, and together, we will Translate Research Into Health®!

To learn more about giving opportunities and to schedule tours, please contact:
Douglas W. Calder, Director of Strategic Development
Phone: (772) 345-5637 / Cell: (772) 418-6302

VGTI Florida® and Translating Research Into Health® are registered trademarks of the Vaccine & Gene Therapy Institute of Florida A copy of the official registration and financial information may be obtained from the Division of Consumer Services by calling toll-free (800) 435-7352 within the State. Registration does not imply endorsement, approval or recommendation by the State.

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