Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Promising multi-strain HIV vaccine candidate emerges

20.08.2002


AIDS researchers have developed a candidate vaccine strategy that, for the first time, demonstrates an ability to elicit antibodies that block the infection of multiple HIV virus strains -- an elusive scientific goal that has been pursued for a decade.



The candidate vaccine - still early in developmental stages at the Institute of Human Virology (IHV) -- is described in a report to appear during the week of Aug. 19-23 in the U.S. Proceedings in the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). It is authored by Drs. Timothy Fouts, Anthony Devico, and colleagues at the IHV, a center of the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute and affiliated with the University of Maryland Medical Center, and Dr. Ranajit Pal and colleagues at Advanced BioScience Laboratories, Inc. (ABL) in Kensington, Md.

One of the major challenges in developing an effective AIDS vaccine has long been the fact that the virus that causes AIDS, much like the influenza virus, exists as multiple strains that present many different faces to the immune system, say the authors. The surface of the AIDS virus, HIV, is coated with a protein called gp120 that has chemical features that vary from strain to strain. It has been difficult for researchers to find a single vaccine component that is able to generate antibodies that recognize the many forms of gp120 that exist in nature.


The IHV/ABL research team approached the problem by recognizing that all gp120 molecules have a shared characteristic that allows all HIV strains to bind a molecule on human target cells called CD4. Importantly, once gp120 forms a complex with CD4, it undergoes structural and chemical changes that reveal features shared by all HIV strains.

Taking advantage of this knowledge, the team produced artificial gp120-CD4 complexes that were chemically treated in order to glue or "crosslink" them together. The complexes were then used to generate antibodies in small animals and monkeys.

"The gp120-CD4 complex has shown a consistent ability to generate antibodies that neutralize a wide range of HIV-1 isolates," says Dr. Devico, assistant professor, IHV. "The preliminary findings indicate the gp120-CD4 complex might serve as a useful model for HIV vaccine development," he adds.

Long the hope of AIDS researchers, it now appears that developing a single HIV vaccine for multiple viruses is indeed an increasingly realistic endeavor, according to IHV Director Dr. Robert C. Gallo.

"This is one of the more exciting findings that I have witnessed in HIV/AIDS research since the early days when it seemed scientific advances were announced regularly," says Dr. Gallo, who is also co-discover of the AIDS virus.

"From the beginning of the field of HIV/AIDS research, the most important goal was to develop a vaccine that prevents virus infection," says Dr. Gallo. "The difficulties have been many, spanning close to two decades. But this has the potential to bring us a major step forward in that ultimate quest. At the Institute of Human Virology, we will make this our prime effort."

The timing couldn’t be more critical, he says.

"HIV/AIDS has overcome the 1918 influenza pandemic and bubonic plague of the 14th century to become the worst epidemic and deadliest disease in medical history," comments Dr. George Lewis, director of the IHV’s Division of Vaccine Development. "Twenty-five million persons have died worldwide, another 40 million are infected and the numbers are rapidly escalating second to second, he explains.

"While advances in therapeutics are helping many with the disease live longer and healthier lives," Lewis adds, "most of the world lacks theses resources and our best bet to stop the AIDS epidemic is a vaccine. We hope this will become an effective tool toward that global goal."

Though designed as a preventative vaccine, the complex might also be useful as a therapeutic vaccine, say the authors. The gp120-CD4 complex will continue to be evaluated with regard to safety and immunogenicity within the next two years should precede into Phase I clinical trials, according to Dr. Gallo.

Gwen Fariss Newman | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.umbi.umd.edu/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht New High-Performance Center Translational Medical Engineering
26.04.2017 | Fraunhofer ITEM

nachricht A promising target for kidney fibrosis
21.04.2017 | Brigham and Women's Hospital

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientist invents way to trigger artificial photosynthesis to clean air

26.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ammonium nitrogen input increases the synthesis of anticarcinogenic compounds in broccoli

26.04.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

SwRI-led team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history

26.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>