Intradermal injection of a Tat Oyi-based therapeutic HIV vaccine reduces of 1.5 log copies/mL the HIV RNA rebound median and no HIV DNA rebound following cART interruption in a phase I/II randomized controlled clinical trial.
ABSTRACT: A Tat Oyi vaccine preparation was administered with informed consent to 48 long-term HIV-1 infected volunteers whose viral loads had been suppressed by antiretroviral therapy (cART). These volunteers were randomized in double-blind method into four groups (n = 12) that were injected intradermally with 0, 11, 33, or 99 µg of synthetic Tat Oyi proteins in buffer without adjuvant at times designated by month 0 (M0), M1 and M2, respectively. The volunteers then underwent a structured treatment interruption between M5 and M7.The primary outcomes of this phase I/IIa clinical trial were the safety and lowering the extent of HIV RNA rebound after cART interruption. Only one undesirable event possibly due to vaccination was observed. The 33 µg dose was most effective at lowering the extent of HIV RNA and DNA rebound (Mann and Whitney test, p = 0.07 and p = 0.001). Immune responses against Tat were increased at M5 and this correlated with a low HIV RNA rebound at M6 (p = 0.01).This study suggests in vivo that extracellular Tat activates and protects HIV infected cells. The Tat Oyi vaccine in association with cART may provide an efficient means of controlling the HIV-infected cell reservoir.
Project description:The conditioning regimen used as part of the Berlin patient's hematopoietic cell transplant likely contributed to his eradication of HIV infection. We studied the impact of conditioning in simian-human immunodeficiency virus-infected (SHIV-infected) macaques suppressed by combination antiretroviral therapy (cART). The conditioning regimen resulted in a dramatic, but incomplete depletion of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells and CD20+ B cells, increased T cell activation and exhaustion, and a significant loss of SHIV-specific Abs. The disrupted T cell homeostasis and markers of microbial translocation positively correlated with an increased viral rebound after cART interruption. Quantitative viral outgrowth and Tat/rev-induced limiting dilution assays showed that the size of the latent SHIV reservoir did not correlate with viral rebound. These findings identify perturbations of the immune system as a mechanism for the failure of autologous transplantation to eradicate HIV. Thus, transplantation strategies may be improved by incorporating immune modulators to prevent disrupted homeostasis, and gene therapy to protect transplanted cells.
Project description:The human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV) establishes a chronic infection that can be well controlled, but not cured, by combined antiretroviral therapy (cART). Interventions have been explored to accomplish a functional cure, meaning that a patient remains infected but HIV is undetectable in the blood, with the aim of allowing patients to live without cART. Tat, the viral transactivator of transcription protein, plays a critical role in controlling HIV transcription, latency, and viral rebound following the interruption of cART treatment. Therefore, a logical approach for controlling HIV would be to block Tat. Tackling Tat with inhibitors has been a difficult task, but some recent discoveries hold promise. Two anti-HIV proteins, Nullbasic (a mutant of Tat) and HT1 (a fusion of HEXIM1 and Tat functional domains) inhibit viral transcription by interfering with the interaction of Tat and cellular factors. Two small molecules, didehydro-cortistatin A (dCA) and triptolide, inhibit Tat by different mechanisms: dCA through direct binding and triptolide through enhanced proteasomal degradation. Finally, two Tat-based vaccines under development elicit Tat-neutralizing antibodies. These vaccines have increased the levels of CD4+ cells and reduced viral loads in HIV-infected people, suggesting that the new vaccines are therapeutic. This review summarizes recent developments of anti-Tat agents and how they could contribute to a functional cure for HIV.
Project description:Presenting episodes of intermittent viremia (EIV) under combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) is frequent, but there exists some controversy about their consequences. They have been described as inducing changes in immune responses potentially associated with a better control of HIV infection. Conversely, it has been suggested that EIV increases the risk of virological failure. A retrospective analysis of a prospective, randomized double-blinded placebo-controlled study was performed. Twenty-six successfully treated HIV-infected adults were randomized to receive an immunization schedule or placebo, and after 1 year of follow-up cART was discontinued. The influence of EIV on T cell subsets, HIV-1-specific T cell immune responses, and viral load rebound, and the risk of developing genotypic mutations were evaluated, taking into account the immunization received. Patients with EIV above 200 copies/ml under cART had a lower proportion of CD4(+) and CD4(+)CD45RA(+)RO(-) T cells, a higher proportion of CD8(+) and CD4(+)CD38(+)HLADR(+) T cells, and higher HIV-specific CD8(+) T cell responses compared to persistently undetectable patients. After cART interruption, patients with EIV presented a significantly higher viral rebound (p=0.007), associated with greater increases in HIV-specific lymphoproliferative responses and T cell populations with activation markers. When patients with EIV between 20 and 200 copies/ml were included, most of the differences disappeared. Patients who present EIV above 200 copies/ml showed a lower CD4(+) T cell count and higher activation markers under cART. After treatment interruption, they showed greater specific immune responses against HIV, which did not prevent a higher virological rebound. EIV between 20 and 200 copies/ml did not have this deleterious effect.
Project description:HIV-1 Tat activates viral transcription and limited Tat transactivation correlates with latency establishment. We postulated a "block-and-lock" functional cure approach based on properties of the Tat inhibitor didehydro-Cortistatin A (dCA). HIV-1 transcriptional inhibitors could block ongoing viremia during antiretroviral therapy (ART), locking the HIV promoter in persistent latency. We investigated this hypothesis in human CD4+ T cells isolated from aviremic individuals. Combining dCA with ART accelerates HIV-1 suppression and prevents viral rebound after treatment interruption, even during strong cellular activation. We show that dCA mediates epigenetic silencing by increasing nucleosomal occupancy at Nucleosome-1, restricting RNAPII recruitment to the HIV-1 promoter. The efficacy of dCA was studied in the bone marrow-liver-thymus (BLT) mouse model of HIV latency and persistence. Adding dCA to ART-suppressed mice systemically reduces viral mRNA in tissues. Moreover, dCA significantly delays and reduces viral rebound levels upon treatment interruption. Altogether, this work demonstrates the potential of block-and-lock cure strategies.
Project description:A better understanding of changes in HIV-1 population genetics with combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) is critical for designing eradication strategies. We therefore analyzed HIV-1 genetic variation and divergence in patients' plasma before cART, during suppression on cART, and after viral rebound. Single-genome sequences of plasma HIV-1 RNA were obtained from HIV-1 infected patients prior to cART (N?=?14), during suppression on cART (N?=?14) and/or after viral rebound following interruption of cART (N?=?5). Intra-patient population diversity was measured by average pairwise difference (APD). Population structure was assessed by phylogenetic analyses and a test for panmixia. Measurements of intra-population diversity revealed no significant loss of overall genetic variation in patients treated for up to 15 years with cART. A test for panmixia, however, showed significant changes in population structure in 2/10 patients after short-term cART (<1 year) and in 7/10 patients after long-term cART (1-15 years). The changes consisted of diverse sets of viral variants prior to cART shifting to populations containing one or more genetically uniform subpopulations during cART. Despite these significant changes in population structure, rebound virus after long-term cART had little divergence from pretherapy virus, implicating long-lived cells infected before cART as the source for rebound virus. The appearance of genetically uniform virus populations and the lack of divergence after prolonged cART and cART interruption provide strong evidence that HIV-1 persists in long-lived cells infected before cART was initiated, that some of these infected cells may be capable of proliferation, and that on-going cycles of viral replication are not evident.
Project description:The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) reservoir is responsible for persistent viral infection, and a small number of mosaic latent cellular reservoirs promote viral rebound upon antiretroviral therapy interruption, which is the major obstacle to a cure. However, markers that determine effective therapy and viral rebound posttreatment interruption remain unclear. In this study, we comprehensively and longitudinally tracked dynamic decay of cell-associated viral RNA/DNA in systemic and lymphoid tissues in simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)-infected rhesus macaques on prolonged combined antiretroviral therapy (cART) and evaluated predictors of viral rebound after treatment cessation. The results showed that suppressive ART substantially reduced plasma SIV RNA, cell-associated unspliced, and multiply spliced SIV RNA to undetectable levels, yet viral DNA remained detectable in systemic tissues and lymphoid compartments throughout cART. Intriguingly, a rapid increase of integrated proviral DNA in peripheral mononuclear cells was detected once treatment was withdrawn, accompanied by the emergence of detectable plasma viral load. Notably, the increase of peripheral proviral DNA after treatment interruption correlated with the emergence and degree of viral rebound. These findings suggest that measuring total viral DNA in SIV infection may be a relatively simple surrogate marker of reservoir size and may predict viral rebound after treatment interruption and inform treatment strategies.<b>IMPORTANCE</b> Viral reservoirs are involved in persistent HIV infection, and a small number of mosaic latent cellular reservoirs promote viral rebound upon analytical treatment interruption, which is the major obstacle to a cure. However, early indicators that can predict resurgence of viremia after treatment interruption may aid treatment decisions in people living with HIV. Utilizing the rhesus macaque model, we demonstrated that increased proviral DNA in peripheral cells after treatment interruption, rather than levels of proviral DNA, was a useful marker to predict the emergence and degree of viral rebound after treatment interruption, providing a rapid approach for monitoring HIV rebound and informing decisions.
Project description:CD4 T cell activation, essential for productive HIV infection, is provided initially in acute HIV infection by innate immune system secretion of activating cytokines. This cytokine response wanes with time and long-term activation of CD4 cells is maintained by HIV Tat protein secreted by HIV infected cells. Structured treatment interruption (STI) in well-controlled antiretroviral-treated (ART) subjects was explored a decade ago with a consensus finding that, in most subjects, HIV levels rebounded within four weeks to pre-ART levels. Based on these observations we initiated a randomized placebo-controlled study of a universal anti-Tat epitope vaccine, TUTI-16, to determine if immunological blockade of Tat would prevent HIV rebound after ART cessation. TUTI-16 immunization was safe, with predominantly mild local and systemic injection-related adverse reactions. TUTI-16 was also immunogenic, with high levels of anti-Tat antibodies compared with levels previously shown to reduce HIV replication in vivo. Of 21 subjects analyzed, 13 (62%) had HIV rebounds vs. 8 (38%) that remained aviremia, but this distribution was not vaccine-related (p = 0.61 log-rank (Mantel-Cox) test), nullifying our hypothesis that anti-Tat antibodies would block rebound of Tat-dependent set-point HIV viremia after ART cessation. Our present findings are consistent with recent molecular findings that rebounding virus following STI is homogeneous and unrelated to previous circulating HIV, suggesting that rebounding HIV represents new founder virus, akin to the original acute HIV infection. We propose, therefore, that STI may have potential as a practical and economical approach to testing the safety and efficacy of candidate prophylactic HIV vaccines.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Validated biomarkers to evaluate HIV-1 cure strategies are currently lacking, therefore requiring analytical treatment interruption (ATI) in study participants. Little is known about the safety of ATI and its long-term impact on patient health.<h4>Objectives</h4>ATI safety was assessed and potential biomarkers predicting viral rebound were evaluated.<h4>Methods</h4>PBMCs, plasma and CSF were collected from 11 HIV-1-positive individuals at four different timepoints during ATI (NCT02641756). Total and integrated HIV-1 DNA, cell-associated (CA) HIV-1 RNA transcripts and restriction factor (RF) expression were measured by PCR-based assays. Markers of neuroinflammation and neuronal injury [neurofilament light chain (NFL) and YKL-40 protein] were measured in CSF. Additionally, neopterin, tryptophan and kynurenine were measured, both in plasma and CSF, as markers of immune activation.<h4>Results</h4>Total HIV-1 DNA, integrated HIV-1 DNA and CA viral RNA transcripts did not differ pre- and post-ATI. Similarly, no significant NFL or YKL-40 increases in CSF were observed between baseline and viral rebound. Furthermore, markers of immune activation did not increase during ATI. Interestingly, the RFs SLFN11 and APOBEC3G increased after ATI before viral rebound. Similarly, Tat-Rev transcripts were increased preceding viral rebound after interruption.<h4>Conclusions</h4>ATI did not increase viral reservoir size and it did not reveal signs of increased neuronal injury or inflammation, suggesting that these well-monitored ATIs are safe. Elevation of Tat-Rev transcription and induced expression of the RFs SLFN11 and APOBEC3G after ATI, prior to viral rebound, indicates that these factors could be used as potential biomarkers predicting viral rebound.
Project description:Interruption of combination antiretroviral therapy in HIV-1-infected individuals leads to rapid viral rebound. Here we report the results of a phase IIa open label clinical trial evaluating 3BNC117,a broad and potent neutralizing antibody against the CD4 binding site of the HIV-1 Env protein, during analytical treatment interruption in 13 HIV-1-infected individuals. Participants with 3BNC117-sensitive virus outgrowth cultures were enrolled. Results show that two or four 30 mg kg(-1) 3BNC117 infusions,separated by 3 or 2 weeks, respectively, are generally well tolerated.Infusions are associated with a delay in viral rebound of 5-9 weeks after two infusions, and up to 19 weeks after four infusions, or an average of 6.7 and 9.9 weeks, respectively, compared with 2.6 weeks for historical controls (P < 0.00001). Rebound viruses arise predominantly from a single provirus. In most individuals,emerging viruses show increased resistance, indicating escape.However, 30% of participants remained suppressed until antibody concentrations waned below 20 ?g ml(-1), and the viruses emerging in all but one of these individuals showed no apparent resistance to 3BCN117, suggesting failure to escape over a period of 9-19 weeks.We conclude that the administration of 3BNC117 exerts strong selective pressure on HIV-1 emerging from latent reservoirs during analytical treatment interruption in humans.
Project description:To design effective eradication strategies, it may be necessary to target HIV reservoirs in anatomic compartments other than blood. This study examined HIV RNA rebound following interruption of antiretroviral therapy (ART) in blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) to determine whether the central nervous system (CNS) might serve as an independent source of resurgent viral replication. Paired blood and CSF samples were collected longitudinally from 14 chronically HIV-infected individuals undergoing ART interruption. HIV env (C2-V3), gag (p24) and pol (reverse transcriptase) were sequenced from cell-free HIV RNA and cell-associated HIV DNA in blood and CSF using the Roche 454 FLX Titanium platform. Comprehensive sequence and phylogenetic analyses were performed to search for evidence of unique or differentially represented viral subpopulations emerging in CSF supernatant as compared with blood plasma. Using a conservative definition of compartmentalization based on four distinct statistical tests, nine participants presented a compartmentalized HIV RNA rebound within the CSF after interruption of ART, even when sampled within 2 weeks from viral rebound. The degree and duration of viral compartmentalization varied considerably between subjects and between time-points within a subject. In 10 cases, we identified viral populations within the CSF supernatant at the first sampled time-point after ART interruption, which were phylogenetically distinct from those present in the paired blood plasma and mostly persisted over time (when longitudinal time-points were available). Our data suggest that an independent source of HIV RNA contributes to viral rebound within the CSF after treatment interruption. The most likely source of compartmentalized HIV RNA is a CNS reservoir that would need to be targeted to achieve complete HIV eradication.