Author(s): Kran AM, Srensen B, Nyhus J, Sommerfelt MA, Baksaas I,
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: The Vacc-4x immunotherapy candidate is composed of four modified peptides corresponding to conserved domains of the HIV-1 protein p24 that preferentially include HLA-A2 restricted elements. Dose-dependent safety and immunogenicity of Vacc-4x and the significance of a HLA-A2 haplotype were examined. DESIGN: Non-AIDS, HIV-1 infected healthy patients (n = 40) stable on HAART with CD4 counts > 300 x 10 cells/l were randomized to receive either low-dose or high-dose Vacc-4x over 26 weeks in an open, prospective phase II clinical trial. METHODS: Patients received a total of 10 intradermal injections, using recombinant granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor as a local adjuvant. Vacc-4x-specific cellular responses were monitored in vivo by delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) skin test infiltrates and in vitro by both T-cell proliferation, and induction /secretion of cytokines. RESULTS: Most patients developed Vacc-4x-specific DTHs (90\%) and proliferative T-cell responses (80\%) that were inter-related in magnitude. High-dose Vacc-4x generally induced stronger specific immune responses than low dose in terms of DTH areas and CD4 and CD8 T-cell proliferation. Only HLA-A2 negative patients had a definite dose advantage, and this subgroup had in fact the best overall DTH and proliferative responses. In contrast, no significant dose difference was observed for HLA-A2 positive patients. No serious adverse events were reported. CONCLUSIONS: HIV-associated specific responses were safely induced in most patients by Vacc-4x in a dose-dependent manner and were also influenced by the HLA haplotype.
This article was published in AIDS
and referenced in Journal of Proteomics & Bioinformatics