HIV/AIDS Vaccine Candidate
An HIV/AIDS vaccine candidate developed by researchers at Oregon Health & Science University appears
to have the ability to completely clear an AIDS-causing virus from the body. The vaccine is being tested through the use of a non-human primate form of HIV, called simian immunodeficiency virus, or SIV, which causes AIDS in monkeys.. "To date, HIV infection has only been cured in a very small number of highly-publicized but unusual clinical cases in which HIV-infected individuals were treated with anti-viral medicines very early after the onset of infection or received a stem cell transplant to combat cancer," said Louis Picker, M.D., associate director of the OHSU Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute. "This latest research suggests that certain immune responses elicited by a new vaccine may
also have the ability to completely remove HIV from the body." "Through this method we were able to teach the monkey's body to better 'prepare its defenses' to combat the disease," explained Picker. "Our vaccine mobilized a T-cell response that was able to overtake the SIV invaders in 50 percent of the cases treated. Moreover, in those cases with a positive response, our testing suggests SIV was banished from the host. We are hopeful that pairing our modified CMV vector with HIV will lead to a similar result in humans." The Picker lab is now investigating the possible reasons why only a subset of the animals treated had a positive response in hopes that the effectiveness of the vaccine candidate can be further boosted.