Author(s): Gudmundsdotter L, Wahren B, Haller BK, Boberg A, Edbck U,
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Abstract Immunotherapy in patients with HIV-1 infection aims to restore and broaden immunological competence, reduce viral load and thereby permit longer periods without combined antiretroviral treatment (cART). Twelve HIV-1-infected patients on cART were immunized on the skin with DNA plasmids containing genes of several HIV-1 subtypes with or without the addition of hydroxyurea (HU), or with placebo. The mean net gain of HIV-specific CD8+ T cell responses were higher and broader in the HIV DNA vaccine groups compared to non-vaccinated individuals (p<0.05). The vaccine-induced immune responses per se had no direct effect on viral replication. In all patients combined, including placebo, the viral set point after a final structured therapy interruption (STI) was lower than prior to initiation of cART (p=0.003). Nadir CD4 levels appeared to strongly influence the post-STI viral titers. After the sixth immunization or placebo, patients could stay off cART for a median time of 15 months. The study shows that HIV DNA immunization induces broader and higher magnitudes of HIV-specific immune responses compared to structured therapy interruptions alone. Although compromised by small numbers of patients, the study also demonstrates that well-monitored STI may safely function as an immunological read out of HIV vaccine efficacy. Copyright © 2011. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
This article was published in Vaccine
and referenced in Journal of Proteomics & Bioinformatics