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Vaccine Research Targets HIV In The Slower, Early Stage Of Infection

Date:
February 26, 2009
Source:
Oregon Health & Science University
Summary:
New research 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. Using this approach, researcher's were able to successfully vaccinate some monkeys infected with SIV -- the monkey counterpart to HIV.
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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 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.

The research is published in the early online edition of the journal Nature Medicine and will appear in a future printed edition. The research was funded by The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.


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The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Oregon Health & Science University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


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Oregon Health & Science University. "Vaccine Research Targets HIV In The Slower, Early Stage Of Infection." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 February 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090217151555.htm>.
Oregon Health & Science University. (2009, February 26). Vaccine Research Targets HIV In The Slower, Early Stage Of Infection. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090217151555.htm
Oregon Health & Science University. "Vaccine Research Targets HIV In The Slower, Early Stage Of Infection." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090217151555.htm (accessed July 28, 2015).

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