Immunotherapy of HIV passed the first phase of clinical trials
Preliminary results from phase I clinical trials demonstrated the safety and tolerability of cell therapy, including the introduction of artificially expanded T-cells with widely neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) into the blood of HIV-positive volunteers who had previously received ARV.
"This study is aimed at finding a way to" modify "the body's immune system to improve the effectiveness of the fight against HIV infection," said one of the authors of the study David Margolis from the University of North Carolina.
"We found that this approach to" re-education "of immune cells and their reuse is safe, which was the main goal of the study. The data of this work will allow us to continue the development of improved methods of immunotherapy for HIV. "
As you know, HIV penetrates into healthy cells with a whole set of proteins, the characteristics and properties of which change extremely quickly, making the immune system work in the direction of producing all new antibodies. However, as a rule, the body's defense system can not "catch up" with the strain. This explains the impossibility of creating a vaccine against HIV.
Immunologists clarify that after 3-4 years of HIV, antibodies of a completely different order - universal HIV-specific antibodies of wide action profile (bnAbs) - begin to be produced in humans. They are able to withstand several types of strains at once. But, unfortunately, this can no longer help the body: the virus by this time penetrates too deeply.
Nevertheless, scientists have suggested that the process of producing bnAbs can be accelerated, and help immunity adapt to the rapid development of mutating HIV strains.
In 2017, a group of microbiologists from the University of Pennsylvania conducted an experiment in which, after modifying the T-cell genome, the latter began producing antibodies that make HIV particles "visible" to the immune system.
Further, it was decided to test the technique on HIV-positive volunteers who had previously taken ARVT. The group of participants included 7 people. According to the study conditions, blood samples were taken from them, from which experts isolated T cells, modified them and replicated. After this, the cellular therapy was reintroduced to patients.
The results of the work showed that the implanted T-cells containing bnAbs were not rejected, there were no serious side effects.
Nevertheless, no serious effects on viral load were noted, as volunteers did not stop taking ARVT.
And yet, as virologists note, immunity after injecting cell therapy began to fight the virus more actively.
This, David Margolis believes, is a weighty argument in favor of assessing the effectiveness of innovative therapy in the Phase 2 clinical trials.