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Development of a Novel Therapeutic HIV-1 Vaccine: Horizontal Gene Transfer by Using Apoptotic HIV-1 DNA Containing Activated T-cells
Framework programme:
Project number:
EC contribution:
€ 1 700 000
36 months
Starting date:
1 December 2005

Keywords: HIV; therapeutic vaccine; apoptosis


With both more than 40 million people living with HIV and the continuous spread of the virus, there is not only an urgent need to develop an effective prophylactic vaccine, but also a vital requirement for novel therapies with long-lasting effect. Therapeutic vaccination could be one way of achieving this. The overall objective for this multidisciplinary consortium is to transfer a novel therapeutic HIV-1 vaccine concept to the clinic. The concept is based on the consortium’s basic discovery that genes can be horizontally transferred to neighbouring cells by the uptake of apoptotic cells. The uptake of apoptotic cells also allows transfer of proteins leading to cross-presentation of antigens. The aim of this project is to develop a therapeutic HIV-1 vaccine (acronym Auto/AlloCell-HIV) based on this technology.

Apoptotic cells can function as a good antigen delivery system by utilising the body’s own natural mechanisms for transfer of DNA and proteins to antigen presenting cells (APC). Normally during HIV-1 infection this system is hindered by multiple mechanisms. It is therefore envisaged using this system during periods of low viral replication achieved by antiretroviral treatment. Hence, we will immunise already infected individuals who have received a limited period of antiretroviral treatment with either autologous apoptotic HIV-1 infected cells (acronym AutoCell-HIV) or allogeneic apoptotic HIV-1 DNA containing cells (acronym AlloCell-HIV).

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