New vaccine research targets HIV in the slower, early stage of infection

February 17, 2009

New research at Oregon Health & Science University's Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute suggests vaccines that specifically target HIV in the initial stages of infection before it becomes a rapidly replicating, system-wide infection - may be a successful approach in limiting the spread of the disease. The research is published in the early online edition of the journal Nature Medicine and will appear in a future printed edition.

The researchers used a vaccination method that involves creating and maintaining resistance by programming a portion of the body's immune system - effector memory T-cells - to look out for HIV at the site of infection.

"HIV appears to be vulnerable when it is first introduced into mucosal surfaces in the body," said Louis Picker, M.D., associate director of the OHSU VGTI and director of the VGTI's vaccine program. "However, once HIV spreads throughout the entire body, it replicates very rapidly and becomes difficult if not impossible to control. Our approach is to attack during this early period of vulnerability. The approach is similar to that of a homeowner who sprays their house with water before sparks land on the roof. This approach can prevent the roof from catching fire and, in the case of HIV, prevent the spread of the virus."

To determine whether they could proactively "educate" the immune system, scientists used a monkey model of AIDS - simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) - the monkey counterpart to HIV. They introduced an altered monkey form of cytomegalovirus (CMV) programmed to express SIV proteins and trigger specialized effector memory T-cells to look for and attack SIV in its early stages.

In total, 12 rhesus macaque monkeys at the Oregon National Primate Research Center were vaccinated using this method. When the animals were later infected with SIV, one-third were protected.

The next step for the research team is to try to determine why only a portion of the monkeys who are vaccinated using this method are responding. The researchers also hope to expand the number of subjects to better determine the success rate of the therapy.

Source: Oregon Health & Science University

Explore further: New material opens possibilities for super-long-acting pills

Related Stories

New material opens possibilities for super-long-acting pills

July 28, 2015

Medical devices designed to reside in the stomach have a variety of applications, including prolonged drug delivery, electronic monitoring, and weight-loss intervention. However, these devices, often created with nondegradable ...

Unearthing cornerstones in root microbiomes

July 16, 2015

Like the tip of an iceberg, a plant sprouting from the soil barely hints at what lies beneath. At the nexus where roots and soil intersect are thriving microbial communities that play important roles in plant health and growth. ...

Researcher uses microscale technology to isolate rare cells

June 17, 2015

In a blood sample taken from a cancer patient, there may be a single circulating tumor cell among hundreds of thousands of other cells. These tumor cells can provide valuable information about how cancer progresses, and could ...

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.