Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


POX-GENE — Result In Brief

Project ID: 18680
Country: Netherlands

Managing HIV infection

An EU-funded project succeeded in developing the means to provide therapeutic vaccination as well as protect human cells from HIV infection. This may herald a new era for low-cost and more effective HIV management.
Managing HIV infection
For people infected with HIV, the only effective treatment currently available is highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART). However, HAART does not eradicate the virus, and lifetime treatment is not always viable due to the high associated costs. Affecting millions worldwide, HIV infection desperately needs to be managed with additional and novel therapies. The nature of HIV-1 infection in particular poses a number of challenges for the development of poxvirus vaccines that show promise in their potential to induce potent immune response.

'A combined pox-virus/lentiviral vector system to treat HIV infection. Immunisation and direct in vivo gene transfer in T lymphocytes' (Pox-gene) exploited existing knowledge and advances in high-level bioengineering to create a poxvirus vector enabling the delivery of genes with HIV inhibitory capacity. The project team was thus able to realise its goal of using the genetically modified Vaccinia virus (a large, complex, enveloped virus) vector to serve a dual role in providing therapeutic vaccination and direct in vivo gene transfer.

The Pox-gene vectors created by project partners hold all the information needed to produce retroviral vectors capable of delivering an antiviral gene. In addition, they created an antiviral gene that can effectively protect cells against infection with HIV. Naïve, memory and activated T cells are thus protected by the transducing particles released in vivo.

Efforts were made to optimise and characterise test systems for in vitro and in vivo evaluation of the Pox-gene strategy. However, more work is needed to fully complete these tasks.

Project outcomes stand to significantly impact the management of HIV infection and reduce the costs by limiting dependency on HAART. Importantly, the developed vector shows potential for worldwide application, including in developing countries that need it most.

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