December #77 : Let's Get Naked - by Richard Jefferys

POZ - Health, Life and HIV
Subscribe to:
POZ magazine
Newsletters
Join POZ: Facebook MySpace Twitter Pinterest
Tumblr Google+ Flickr MySpace
POZ Personals
Sign In / Join
Username:
Password:

Back to home » Archives » POZ Magazine issues




Table of Contents

*69: AIDS, We've Got Your Number

Sleeping With The Enemy

Enter the Dragon

Change of Heart

Name Game

Chimp and See

Pop Tart

Milestones

Magilla Guerrilla

Spin Cycle

Poetry in Motion

Gifts That Keep Giving

All Versed Up

Obit

Let's Get Naked

Vax for HIVers

States of Emergency

Bundleland

Fat Chance

Hep C, Hep Do

Fed Tape

Gift of Life

Publisher's Letter

Mailbox

Bishop Rainey Cheeks



Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle

Shingles

Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV


email print

December 2001

Let's Get Naked

by Richard Jefferys

After years in the scientific wilderness, HIV vaccine research is finding its way. Spurred by new technologies and a better understanding of how the immune system might be tweaked to fight the virus, the once-dry pipeline is now releasing a steady trickle of vaccines into studies in real-live humans. Whether these vaccines can prevent infection remains to be seen, of course, but even if not, they may delay or prevent disease by giving T-cells a head start against HIV.

Two new tools are behind all this action. One, dubbed "naked DNA," involves injecting (into the muscle or skin) some genetic code (DNA) that the body translates into copies of HIV proteins, which can trigger an HIV-specific immune response. Another way to deliver genetic code for making HIV proteins is to use a so-called vector. Vectors are typically genetically altered viruses that cannot replicate more than once in the body and so cannot cause disease.

  • Merck & Co. is currently the only pharmaceutical company to have an advanced program. Its candidates use both naked DNA and a modified adenovirus vector (adenovirus causes colds). These are being tested both separately and combined in a "prime-boost" -- first DNA, then the vector. The University of California at Davis has just launched a Phase I safety study in HIV-negative volunteers, but it is also being studied as a therapeutic vaccine in HIVers on HAART (call 916.734.8637).

  • Another prime-boost approach, in clinical trials in Britain and Kenya, uses naked DNA followed by a different vector, modified vaccinia virus Ankara strain (MVA). In an upcoming trial sponsored by the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), people who got DNA alone will be boosted with MVA (click on www.iavi.org). If immune responses look good in Phase I and II, Phase III efficacy trials will start as soon as possible -- 2004 is the best estimate.

  • The new Vaccine Research Center (VRC) at the National Institutes of Health announced in October its first clinical trial (call 866.833.5433). The vaccine uses naked DNA to make mimics of two HIV proteins, Gag and Pol. These have been modified in an attempt to strengthen the immune response, and the trial will test various doses to see whether these modifications work.

  • Tests in people are also expected soon for another DNA/MVA prime-booster developed at Emory University in Atlanta. Trials will be through the NIH's HIV Clinical Trials Network (HVTN). (Click on www.hvtn.org.)

  • An effort by researchers at Harvard has produced a DNA vaccine with a dab of IL-2 (to boost T-cell responses) attached, due for human studies at both VRC and HVTN.

  • Also on HVTN's list is GlaxoSmithKline's experimental vaccine, which bucks the DNA/ vector trend by using whole proteins (more expensive to produce). In addition to trials in HIV-negative folks, Glaxo has therapeutic studies planned for next year.
  • Finally, at the experimental stage are a multitude of souped-up DNA vaccines and new vectors, including attenuated flu viruses, salmonella bacteria and -- no kidding! -- brewer's yeast. Let's hope we're closer to a vaccine pipeline that we can raise a glass to.




    [Go to top]

    Facebook Twitter Google+ MySpace YouTube Tumblr Flickr Instagram
    Quick Links
    Current Issue

    HIV Testing
    Safer Sex
    Find a Date
    Newly Diagnosed
    HIV 101
    Disclosing Your Status
    Starting Treatment
    Help Paying for Meds
    Search for the Cure
    POZ Stories
    POZ Opinion
    POZ Exclusives
    Read the Blogs
    Visit the Forums
    Job Listings
    Events Calendar


        CuteBoyinQns
        Jackson Heights
        New York


        RyGuy00
        New York
        New York


        pevans
        San Francisco
        California


        kmfdm221
        Arcata
        California
    Click here to join POZ Personals!
    Ask POZ Pharmacist

    Talk to Us
    Poll
    Are you a regular coffee drinker?
    Yes
    No

    Survey
    Pop Watch

    more surveys
    Contact Us
    We welcome your comments!
    [ about Smart + Strong | about POZ | POZ advisory board | partner links | advertising policy | advertise/contact us | site map]
    © 2014 Smart + Strong. All Rights Reserved. Terms of use and Your privacy.
    Smart + Strong® is a registered trademark of CDM Publishing, LLC.