alexa Phase I trial of a therapeutic HIV type 1 vaccine, Vacc-4x, in HIV type 1-infected individuals with or without antiretroviral therapy.
Bioinformatics & Systems Biology

Bioinformatics & Systems Biology

Journal of Proteomics & Bioinformatics

Author(s): Asj B, Stavang H, Srensen B, Baksaas I, Nyhus J,

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Abstract Highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) can effectively suppress HIV-1 replication but, as soon as the drugs are withdrawn, there is a rapid rebound of replicating virus. Severe metabolic toxicities and therapy failures due to the appearance of resistant virus are becoming an increasing problem that precludes long-term continuous medication. Therapeutic immunizations represent a feasible and attractive means of supplementing or, alternatively, replacing current therapies, thereby reducing the potential for emergence of drug-resistant HIV-1 strains. We have performed an open, single-center, phase I safety study of a candidate therapeutic HIV-1 vaccine, Vacc-4x, given to 11 HIV-1-infected individuals with or without antiretroviral therapy. The immunogen consists of four synthetic peptides based on the major core protein p24. To ensure optimal exposure of the immunogen to the antigen-presenting cells (APCs), the vaccine was given intradermally together with granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF). Responses to the immunization protocol were determined by delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) reaction, interferon gamma-secreting cells in the enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISpot) assay, and antibody production to the p24 protein and the peptides. The vaccine was safe and in general well tolerated. Plasma HIV RNA levels and CD4(+) cell counts did not change appreciably during the study. All patients showed a positive DTH response. For two of the patients, the immunization protocol induced responses to one or two of the tested peptides whereas a third patient showed reactivity to one of the peptides before immunization. A weak antibody response in the peptide-specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay could be seen in seven patients. This article was published in AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses and referenced in Journal of Proteomics & Bioinformatics

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