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October 19, 2009

Towards a genetic AIDS vaccine

"The study by Philip Johnson and his colleagues of the Children’s Hospital in Pennsylvania published in a recent issue of Nature Medicine presents an unorthodox, yet surprisingly simple approach. These authors used gene transfer technology to produce antibody-like molecules in the blood that effectively block viral infection [2]. First, they created artificial antibody-like proteins called immunoadhesins that were specifically designed to bind to the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) that infects macaques to cause an AIDS-like disease. Second, a gene therapy approach was used to deliver the antiviral immunoadhesin gene into the macaques. This immunoadhesin gene therapy approach bypasses the immune system altogether, and promising results were reported in the pre-clinical macaque model. The insights gained from how to achieve protection against SIV infection by a gene therapy approach could possibly be translated to the control of HIV-1 infection in humans."

Read more in Retrovirology, October 16, 2009 (anyone can download a provisional PDF of the article).