MONDAY, JUNE 18, 2018

Immune responses may inhibit antibody-based treatments for HIV

World’s best HIV/AIDS researchers meet at Vancouver
World’s best HIV/AIDS researchers meet at Vancouver | Courtesy of

Researchers from the Medical University of South Carolina recently conducted studies to determine whether immune responses inhibit the results of broadly neutralizing antibody treatments that may help people with HIV infections.

The antibody, VRC01, is part of a Phase I trial. Scientists from the Vaccine Research Center, which is part of the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, have created the broadly neutralizing antibody as a potential way to treat HIV.

The trial included an immunogeneticist who focuses on immunoglobulin GM genes. This is important because VRC01 requires immunoglobulin GM3 as part of its platform.

"If you give VRC01 antibodies to a person without the gene, they could make antibodies against the VRC01 antibodies, which could reduce their effectiveness," Dr. Janardan Pandey, an immunogeneticist specializing in immunoglobulin GM genes at the Medical University of South Carolina, said.

The trial shows that VRC01 was effective despite genetic anomalies. The results demonstrate that one VRC01 antibody dose could balance the HIV patient’s blood plasma level even if they had not received antiretroviral therapy.

"This is a very promising first step for an HIV treatment approach using broadly neutralizing antibodies, and the first good news for some time for people infected with HIV," Pandey said.

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Medical University of South Carolina National Institutes of Health

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