Researchers target potent HIV antibodies in new study
Barton F. Haynes, MD, director of the Duke Human Vaccine Institute, the Frederic M. Hanes professor of medicine and immunology at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, and the lead author of the report said the study reveals for the first time how plasma antibodies form—a discovery that could lead to preventive vaccines and curative treatments for HIV.
“We isolated many of these unusual antibodies that were in the same family so that we can have for the first time the pathway of how they developed,” Haynes recently told Medical Economics.
Haynes said the mixtures of the genes of the B cell and plasma antibodies revealed a chimeric antibody that was more potent than most previously isolated.
“We are now developing this and related antibodies in forms that can be used to ferret out hidden virus infected CD4 T cells in HIV infected individuals,” Haynes said.
If successful, the discovery would make the constructed antibody the most potent HIV antibody found to date.
While the research is still in the early stages, Haynes said he hopes his team’s work will lead to the development of both preventive vaccines and curative treatments for HIV. First, more work would need to be done to further develop the antibody, and the team would obtain federal approval for further testing. Haynes said the study could contribute to work investigating holistic treatments that utilize broadly neutralizing antibodies to find HIV cells and point killer T cells in their direction.