A preliminary investigation of a therapeutic vaccine for HIV has shown some promising signs of efficacy in a subset of the treated patients (see Nature Medicine).
Jean-Marie Andrieu and colleagues from the Centre Biomedical des Saints-Peres, Paris, injected 18 infected Brazilian patients with a vaccine consisting of some of the patients' own immune cells-dendritic cells-loaded with inactivated HIV. The amount of virus in the patients' blood had been stable over the six months prior to vaccination, but after injection of the vaccine, the viral loads began to decline. Eight of the patients maintained low levels of virus for up to a year after the vaccination. The vaccine also boosted the anti-HIV immune response. Importantly, the authors were able to identify particular components of the immune response that correlated with the declining viral load.
Because the study did not contain a control arm, it is unclear which vaccine components were responsible for the decline. But the small-scale study provides some important information about the characteristics of an immune response associated with controlling the HIV infection, which might help scientists evaluate other HIV vaccines. The study also suggests that vaccines based on dendritic cells could be a promising means of treating HIV infection, but the observations need to be confirmed in a larger randomized study.
Jean-Marie Andrieu (Centre Biomédical des Saints-Pères, Paris, France)
Tel: +1 33 1 4260 1922, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Also published online.
(C) Nature Medicine press release.
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