Thursday, April 9, 2015

Antibodies show promise in suppressing HIV

Scimex: A new generation of potent antibodies are showing promise in the fight against HIV. US and German researchers have found that 'broadly neutralising antibodies' can substantially reduce the amount of virus present in a patient's blood and keep it down for 28 days, bringing fresh optimism to the field of HIV immunotherapy.

A potent human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1-specific antibody can suppress HIV for 28 days, a small clinical trial in Nature this week indicates.
HIV-1 immunotherapy — whereby patients are infused with virus-fighting antibodies — initially proved ineffective in preclinical and clinical settings. However, a new generation of more potent broadly neutralizing antibodies to HIV-1 have been shown to prevent infection and suppress the virus in studies in humanized mice and non-human primates, although their potential for human HIV-1 immunotherapy has not been evaluated.

Michel Nussenzweig and colleagues show that the broadly neutralizing anti-CD4 binding site antibody 3BNC117 is generally safe and well tolerated in a dose-escalation phase I clinical trial of 12 uninfected and 17 HIV-1-infected individuals. They report that the antibody reduced the amount of HIV-1 in the blood (viral load) of infected individuals for 28 days.

The study suggests that 3BNC117 is safe and can suppress HIV-1 in humans, although the authors caution that treatment with the antibody alone is insufficient to control infection and that antibody–drug or antibody–antibody combinations will be required for complete viraemic control. They conclude that antibody-mediated immunotherapy, which, unlike currently available drugs, engages host immunity directly, should be further explored as an approach to HIV-1 prevention, therapy and cure.