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Mucosal Vaccines Against Human and Simian Immunodeficiency Viruses Based on Dendritic Cells
Framework programme:
Project number:
EC contribution:
€ 2 110 000
36 months
Starting date:
1 September 2002

Keywords: Mucosal immunity; dendritic cell-based vaccine; immunopathology; viral load; complement; cytokine; lymph node; thymus; central nervous system


Successful containment of the worldwide spread of HIV-1 requires vaccines with a  high protective efficacy, low cost and simple immunisation schedules. The aim of this project is to assess the efficacy of new vaccine candidates (cationic lipid-DNA and single cycle lentiviral vector, recombinant S. gordonii), developed by this consortium, in inducing mucosal and systemic immunity and protection against mucosal challenge with pathogenic SIV in rhesus macaques. Questions will also be addressed on vaccine biology. Knowledge gained here can direct the project towards the design of mucosal vaccine delivery and could provide concepts useful for other human pathogenic viruses and tumours.


The development of an HIV vaccine poses an unprecedented challenge to the scientific community. The inexorable spread of HIV worldwide, especially in developing countries, and the devastating clinical consequences of AIDS can only be contained by a vaccine with high protective efficacy, low cost, and simple immunisation schedules. Yet, almost two decades after the first demonstration of HIV and its etiologic role in AIDS, this vaccine still is a goal, not a reality. An HIV vaccine is most desperately needed in regions of the world in which HIV infections are endemic. Live recombinant bacterial and viral vectors are being explored as tools for eliciting immune responses against HIV. However, these vectors hold the potential to revert to more virulent strains capable of causing disease, especially in immunocompromised hosts. Caution is necessary since significant numbers of individuals are already infected with HIV, and therefore immunosuppressed. Of the many novel vaccine strategies currently being explored as potential HIV vaccines, plasmid DNA immunogens is one of the more intriguing but vaccine performance has to be improved by adjuvants and/or by the prime-boost vaccination strategy.

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