Twitter LinkedIn
Return to Wellspring


Tools for Vaccine and Drug Development for Cryptosporidium


Project TitleTools for Vaccine and Drug Development for Cryptosporidium
Track Code2072
Short Description

Organisms: Cryptosporidium parvum, Cryptosporidium spp. 

The invention may allow the establishment of an animal model of cryptosporidiosis, while providing for a means to develop currently non-existent genetic tools for further research on Cryptosporidium spp. The invention also serves to support work toward the development of a first vaccine against Cryptosporidium.


Cryptosporidium is a genus of protozoans that can cause gastrointestinal illness with diarrhea in humans and animals, and it is of great medical and veterinary impact.  Cryptosporidium parvum is most often spread through water (both drinking water and recreational water) and this type of infection is the second most common cause of diarrheal disease in infants.  Transmission by ingestion or inhalation of coughed fomites is a second, albeit less likely route of infection. In humans, the main causes of disease are C. parvum and C. hominis. C. canis, C. felis, C. meleagridis, and C. muris can also cause disease in humans.Cryptosporidiosis is typically an acute, short-term infection but can become severe in children and immunocompromised individuals.  It is also of particular veterinary concern for neonatal ruminant animals.  The parasite is commonly transmitted in its spore phase through environmentally hardy cysts, called oocysts, which, once ingested, exist in the small intestine and result in an infection of intestinal epithelial tissue.  Cryptosporidium oocysts can survive for lengthy periods outside a host.  They can also resist many common disinfectants, notably chlorine-based disinfectants.


Currently, there are many challenges to studying Cryptosporidium including poor animal models, an inability to continuously grow the organism in culture, a lack of genetic tools, and the nature of Cryptosporidium as a poorly tractable pathogen.  Moreover, there is no vaccine and very limited drug therapy available.


The invention is an innovative methodology for transfecting Cryptosporidium organisms.  The transfectants can then be used to establish reporter pathogens for such applications as measuring infection, pathogenesis, and efficacy of therapeutic treatments.  The transfected Cryptosporidium may also then be used for drug screening and vaccine development.

References and Intellectual Property

  • Patent pending. Published PCT Application WO2015017767 A1

  • Vinayak S, Pawlowic MC, Sateriale A, Brooks CF, Studstill CJ, Bar-Peled Y, Cipriano MJ, Striepen B.: Genetic modification of the diarrhoeal pathogen Cryptosporidium parvum. Nature. 2015 Jul 23;523(7561):477-80

Tagsvaccine, therapeutic, enteric pathogens, public health, cryptosporidium
Posted DateNov 14, 2017 1:13 PM


Rachael Widener


File Name Description
2072 Striepen RW.doc None Download