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Evading The Immune System To Deliver Viral Antibodies

  April, 26 2006 9:19
your information resource in human molecular genetics
A virus that shows promise as a means of vaccine delivery of HIV-1 antigens could be altered to become effective in a larger portion of the population according to research published online by Nature this week.

Adenovirus serotype 5 (Ad5) vectors carrying HIV-1 antigens have been shown to generate high immune responses in preclinical studies and are therefore being developed as candidate AIDS vaccines. A problem facing researchers is that a large majority of the human population has pre-existing Ad5-specific neutralizing antibodies that could reduce the effectiveness of this particular vaccine vector.

Knowing that many Ad5-specific antibodies target the outer capsid hexon protein, Dan Barouch and colleagues swapped the surface loops - hypervariable regions - with the corresponding hypervariable regions from another adenovirus with lower pre-existing immunity in humans.

They found that these chimaeric carriers were stable and effectively evaded pre-existing anti-Ad5 immunity in both mice and rhesus monkeys. Furthermore, a high immune response was generated against the encoded vaccine antigen: the Gag protein from simian immunodeficiency virus. These engineered vaccine vectors could provide a major advance for the fields of vaccination and gene therapy.

Author contact:

Dan H. Barouch (Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA)
E-mail: dbarouch@bidmc.harvard.edu

Abstract available online.

(C) Nature press release.

Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza

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