Research ArticleHIV

A Dendritic Cell–Based Vaccine Elicits T Cell Responses Associated with Control of HIV-1 Replication

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Science Translational Medicine  02 Jan 2013:
Vol. 5, Issue 166, pp. 166ra2
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3004682

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Putting the Vaccine Before the cART

Combination antiretroviral therapy has turned HIV infection from a death sentence to a manageable disease. However, current treatment requires “cART for life,” a less than ideal situation for HIV-infected individuals because of drug cost and worries about resistance. New vaccine strategies are attempting to control viral replication after infection, thus allowing discontinuation of cART and a “functional cure.” Garcia et al. report a dendritic cell (DC)–based vaccine that elicits an HIV-1–specific immune response and may change the setpoint of viral load.

The authors pulsed the patient’s own DCs with heat-inactivated whole HIV and then used these DCs as a therapeutic vaccine. The vaccine was safe and well tolerated. They observed a decrease in viral setpoint after cART interruption in vaccinated patients with a concomitant increase in HIV-1–specific T cell responses. Although not yet a functional cure, these results support future studies optimizing a therapeutic vaccine to maintain HIV-1–infected patients.