Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Team Gains Insight Into HIV Vaccine Failure

22.07.2009
A team of researchers from The Wistar Institute and the University of Pennsylvania reports new evidence refuting a popular hypothesis about the highly publicized failure in 2007 of the Merck STEP HIV vaccine study that cast doubt on the feasibility of HIV-1 vaccines. The findings were published on-line July 20 in Nature Medicine.

The phase II STEP vaccine trial was stopped after an interim analysis showed no efficacy in preventing HIV infection in at-risk individuals. It was noted that a subset of participants who had previous immunity in the form of neutralizing antibodies to the adenovirus 5 (Ad5) vector used to deliver the vaccine actually showed a trend toward an increased rate of HIV infection. Finding an explanation for this increased susceptibility to infection remains a major focus for HIV vaccine researchers.

These individuals were found to have high blood Ad5 neutralizing antibody (nAb) titers, the main immune gatekeeper in most vaccine strategies. Antibodies produced in response to previous infection neutralize viruses by binding to them and preventing their entry into host cells. They work in concert with other immune cells, including CD4 T-cells, which build a memory bank against future infection. In HIV infection, the virus attaches specifically to CD4 receptors on activated CD4 T-cells, establishing a stronghold and replicating.

Of the STEP findings, many researchers hypothesize that the T-cells of individuals in this high-Ad5-antibody group were activated by the Ad5-vaccine vector, creating more activated CD4 T-cells which then served as targets for the HIV virus to establish an infection.

“Our findings disprove the favored hypothesis,” says co-lead author Hildegund C.J. Ertl, M.D., director of The Wistar Institute Vaccine Center. “There was nothing to indicate that pre-existing neutralizing antibodies correlated with numbers of activated CD4 T-cells to Ad5, which could have provided additional targets for HIV infection following subsequent exposure.”

Seeking to understand the relationship between previous neutralizing antibodies to Ad5 and Ad5-specific T-cell responses, the team, headed by Michael R. Betts, Ph.D., of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine Department of Microbiology, Center for AIDS Research, and Wistar Institute Vaccine Center, analyzed blood samples from 40 healthy participants in the phase I safety trial of the STEP HIV vaccine for immune response to Ad5 particles. The blood samples, which came from individuals with both high and low nAb titers and thus varying degrees of pre-existing neutralizing antibodies to Ad5, had been taken from participants at baseline, before administration of the Ad5 vector vaccine under study. From their current Ad5 assay, the team found no correlation between nAb titers at baseline and CD4 T-cell frequency.

“Ad-specific CD4 T-cells are exceptionally common in humans, regardless of the level of neutralizing antibodies to Ad5,” says Betts. “This is probably the major factor that disproves the main hypothesis proposed to explain the STEP trial results.”

The team next questioned whether the Ad5-specific CD4 T-cells functioned any differently before or after administering the Ad5 vector. They found no significant difference in activation or expansion of CD4 T-cells in either the high- or the low-Ad5 antibody groups.

“It doesn’t appear that vaccination increases the pool of potentially infectable CD4 T-cells in people with pre-existing immunity to Ad5,” Ertl says. “When you look at the data together, they suggest we must look elsewhere to explain the link between previous Ad5 immunity and increased acquisition of HIV infection.”

Study investigators include Natalie A. Hutnick, B.S., and Diane G. Carnathan, M.S., University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine Department of Microbiology and Center for AIDS Research; Sheri A. Dubey, Kara S. Cox, Lisa Kierstead, Michael N. Robertson, M.D., and Danilo R. Casimiro, Ph.D., of Merck Research Laboratories; and Sarah J. Ratcliffe, Ph.D., of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology.

The study was supported by a collaborative grant from the National Institutes of Health to Ertl and Betts.

The Wistar Institute is an international leader in biomedical research with special expertise in cancer research and vaccine development. Founded in 1892 as the first independent nonprofit biomedical research institute in the country, Wistar has long held the prestigious Cancer Center designation from the National Cancer Institute. The Institute works actively to ensure that research advances move from the laboratory to the clinic as quickly as possible. The Wistar Institute: Today’s Discoveries – Tomorrow’s Cures. On the Web at www.wistar.org.

Susan I. Finkelstein | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.wistar.org

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Researchers identify new way to unmask melanoma cells to the immune system
17.01.2018 | Duke University Medical Center

nachricht Study advances gene therapy for glaucoma
17.01.2018 | University of Wisconsin-Madison

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: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

Im Focus: A thermometer for the oceans

Measurement of noble gases in Antarctic ice cores

The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

World’s oldest known oxygen oasis discovered

18.01.2018 | Earth Sciences

Uncovering decades of questionable investments

18.01.2018 | Business and Finance

Novel chip-based gene expression tool analyzes RNA quickly and accurately

18.01.2018 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>