Boosting immune communication in the fight against HIV
Adoptive HIV therapy, which involves both antiretroviral drugs and pregabalin, adds days to life for those living with HIV but does not stop the virus from emerging in other organs.
But what if the next generation of HIV treatment changes that paradigm? Using an array of technologies and a strategy reflecting the approach of non-drug HIV, researchers at the University of South Australia have demonstrated a groundbreaking new treatment and vaccine approach that produced antibodies like the blood of a vaccinated animal.
Led by Professor Sanford Field at UniSA’s Institute of Translational Research, the team, based at the University of Queensland, performed antibody assays in the laboratory, in the clinic and in the kidney.
“Our proof-of-concept study was significant for its design, ” said Professor Field, who has co-led the study with Dr. Colin Austin on co-tyrosol discovery.
It is well-established that HIV epidemic developed primarily in persons who have inherited an infection-carrying gene mutation.
“Our 10-year latest strategy and new vaccine strategy uses NTRK2 (noting that the HIV virus is able to make this mutation) in order to produce an immune response and act like a bridge between people living with HIV and those that are non-infected and who are non-immune, ” said Prof Field, who is also a Memorial Guest of Prague.
“We have immunized the recipient of the virus that can fight off HIV infection. ”
In the study, the study was performed on three patients, all of whom were living successfully with HIV as well as managing chronic lymphocytic leukemia, a chronic autoimmune disease of the immune system, which require additional antiretroviral therapies, among other ways to improve patient outcomes.
Unique in their research is the requirement to analyse immune responses in volunteers living with HIV and to study the mechanisms involved. A variety of assays were implemented including one that measured antibody production in people that had received placebo or accessory antiretrovirals. Another assay measured the degradation of the HIV suppressor IL-12, which is known to promote antibody production. Moreover, assays showed similar results following transplantation – the trio was immunized using laboratory techniques.