Two Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists are among the team
recently funded to explore ways to create the precise immune factors needed for
effective vaccines against HIV.
The Duke University-led consortium will largely concentrate on
inducing broadly neutralizing antibodies that can prevent HIV-1 infection, as
well as on generating protective T-cell and innate immune system responses.
“A vaccine-elicited broadly neutralizing antibody response has
the potential to block HIV infection; T-cell responses will support that
response, and are likely to be able to help control and contain the virus if it
breaks through the neutralizing antibody response,” said Bette Korber, one of the
“Some HIV-infected individuals eventually make good neutralizing
responses during their infection,” she noted. The scientists will use the
body’s occasional ability to create these antibodies as roadmaps for candidate
vaccines to stimulate protective antibody responses. Los Alamos scientists from
the theoretical biology group will provide analyses and design.
The research funding is provided through the National Institute
of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of
Health (NIH). NIAID originally established CHAVI in response to recommendations
of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise, a virtual consortium endorsed by world
leaders at a G-8 summit in June 2004.
That project was directed towards understanding the human immune
response to natural HIV infection and to better understand how to approach a
vaccine. Los Alamos scientists worked on that grant as well, helping to
understand the evolution of the virus at transmission and the dynamics of the
early immune response. The new CHAVI-ID grant now will focus on projects that
are critical to creating the most effective vaccines for prevention.
Barton Haynes, MD, will be the Duke director of the seven-year
grant for the Duke Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology-Immunogen Discovery
(CHAVI-ID). Haynes previously led the original Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine
Immunology (CHAVI) consortium, the grant for which just ended in June 2012.
Scripps Research Institute was also selected as a second center to receive
CHAVI-ID grant funding.
“We were privileged to have the CHAVI grant over the past seven
years, and the work in this consortium helped us understand what needed to be
done to make a successful AIDS vaccine,” said Haynes, who is also director of
the Duke Human Vaccine Institute and the Frederic M. Hanes Professor of
Medicine and Immunology. “The CHAVI-Immunogen Discovery grant will be used to
learn how to do what we need to do.”
Members of the Duke CHAVI-ID Scientific Leadership Group and
their participating institutions who submitted the grant with Haynes are Andrew
McMichael of Oxford University, UK; George Shaw, University of Pennsylvania;
Bette Korber of Los Alamos National Laboratory; Garnett Kelsoe at Duke; and
Joseph Sodroski and the late Norman Letvin of Harvard University. Bette Korber
and Alan Perelson of Los Alamos will each be leading analysis projects for the
new grant at Los Alamos.
Source: Los Alamos National Laboratory
Filed Under: Drug Discovery