[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Efforts to develop novel, interferon-sparing therapies for treatment of chronic hepatitis C (HCV) infection are contingent on the ability of combination therapies consisting of direct antiviral inhibitors to achieve a sustained virologic response. This work demonstrates a proof of concept that coadministration of the nucleoside analogue MK-0608 with the protease inhibitor MK-7009, both of which produced robust viral load declines as monotherapy, to an HCV-infected chimpanzee can achieve a cure of infection.
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 02/2011; 55(2):937-9. · 4.57 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The prophylactic efficacies of several multivalent replication-incompetent adenovirus serotype 5 (Ad5) vaccines were examined in rhesus macaques using an intrarectal high-dose simian immunodeficiency virus SIVmac239 challenge model. Cohorts of Mamu-A*01(+)/B*17(-) Indian rhesus macaques were immunized with one of several combinations of Ad5 vectors expressing Gag, Pol, Nef, and Env gp140; for comparison, a Mamu-A*01(+) cohort was immunized using the Ad5 vector alone. There was no sign of immunological interference between antigens in the immunized animals. In general, expansion of the antigen breadth resulted in more favorable virological outcomes. In particular, the order of efficacy trended as follows: Gag/Pol/Nef/Env approximately Gag/Pol > Gag approximately Gag/Pol/Nef > Nef. However, the precision in ranking the vaccines based on the study results may be limited by the cohort size, and as such, may warrant additional testing. The implications of these results in light of the recent discouraging results of the phase IIb study of the trivalent Ad5 HIV-1 vaccine are discussed.
Journal of Virology 03/2010; 84(6):2996-3003. · 5.08 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infects an estimated 170 million individuals worldwide and is associated with an increased incidence of liver fibrosis, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma. Currently approved therapies to treat HCV infection consist of combinations of pegylated alpha interferon and ribavirin which result in a sustained viral response in 40 to 60% of patients. Efforts to develop improved therapies include the development of direct inhibitors of virally encoded enzymes such as the viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase. A nucleoside analog, 2'-C-methyl-7-deaza-adenosine (MK-0608), has been shown to inhibit viral RNA replication in the subgenomic HCV genotype 1b replicon, with a 50% effective concentration (EC(50)) of 0.3 microM (EC(90) = 1.3 microM). To determine efficacy in vivo, MK-0608 was administered to HCV-infected chimpanzees, resulting in dose- and time-dependent decreases in plasma viral loads. In separate experiments, chimpanzees dosed for 7 days with MK-0608 at 0.2 and 2 mg per kg of body weight per day by intravenous administration experienced average reductions in viral load of 1.0 and >5 log(10) IU/ml, respectively. Two other HCV-infected chimpanzees received daily doses of 1 mg MK-0608 per kg via oral administration. After 37 days of oral dosing, one chimpanzee with a high starting viral load experienced a reduction in viral load of 4.6 log(10), and the viral load in the other chimpanzee fell below the limit of quantification (LOQ) of the HCV TaqMan assay (20 IU/ml). Importantly, viral load remained below the LOQ throughout the duration of dosing and for at least 12 days after dosing ended. The results demonstrate a robust antiviral effect on the administration of MK-0608 to HCV-infected chimpanzees.
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 12/2008; 53(3):926-34. · 4.57 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We sought to determine how effectively a CD8+ T cell inducing vaccine controls SHIV-89.6P infection in rhesus macaques at a range of challenge times post-vaccination. To this end, twenty eight Mamu-A*01+ rhesus macaques were given replication incompetent human serotype 5 adenovirus vector expressing SIVmac239 gag DNA and boosted 24 weeks later. Groups of 4 monkeys were then challenged with SHIV-89.6P at 1, 3, 6, 12, and 24 weeks after the boost. We compared the kinetics of viral load, CD4+ and virus-specific CD8+ T cells in these macaques. Measurements of CD8+ T cells taken before challenge show an exponential decay between 1 and 12 weeks following vaccination (p<0.0001). After week 12, no further decay was observed. Twenty of 24 vaccinated animals maintained more CD4+ T cells and kept their viral load at least one order of magnitude lower than the control animals throughout the chronic phase of the study. All 24 vaccinated animals survived the duration of the study. The viral and T cell kinetics over the first two weeks differed between the vaccinated groups, with more recent vaccination improving the early control of virus (p-value=0.027). The rates of virus specific CD8+ T cell expansion were greater in animals having higher viral loads at one week (r=0.45, p=0.029), suggesting that the kinetics of early viral load may have a role in virus specific CD8+ T cell generation, although these early differences did not lead to different clinical outcomes within the vaccinated animals.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Safe and efficient methods for in vivo delivery of transgenes of interest must be developed so that the promise of these therapies can be practically used in the clinic. In this work, we describe the use of electrostimulation to enhance the in vivo efficiency of plasmid DNA delivery. The method was optimized to work over a range of moderate frequencies, utilizing low field strengths and simple symmetrical waveforms. After studying several parameters of delivery in mice, we demonstrate how this methodology can be employed to significantly improve both gene expression (over 16-fold) and the immunogenicity of HIV-1 vaccines (over 28-fold) compared to naked DNA in non-human primates. Compared to an efficient viral Ad5 vector system, the gene expression levels of DNA+electrostimulation were surprisingly within a factor of four of the viral delivery system.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Lack of virus specific antibody response is commonly observed in both HIV-1-infected humans and SIV-infected monkeys with rapid disease progression. However, the mechanisms underlying this important observation still remain unclear. In a titration study of a SIVmac239 viral stock, three out of six animals with viral inoculation rapidly progressed to AIDS within 5 months. Unexpectedly, there was no obvious depletion of CD4(+) T cells in both peripheral and lymph node (LN) compartments in these animals. Instead, progressive depletion of proliferating B cells and disruption of the follicular dendritic cell (FDC) network in germinal centers (GC) was evident in the samples collected at as early as 20 days after viral challenge. This coincided with undetectable, or weak and transient, virus-specific antibody responses over the course of infection. In situ hybridization of SIV RNA in the LN samples revealed a high frequency of SIV productively infected cells and large amounts of accumulated viral RNA in the GCs in these animals. Early severe depletion of GC proliferating B cells and disruption of the FDC network may thus result in an inability to mount a virus-specific antibody response in rapid progressors, which has been shown to contribute to accelerated disease progression of SIV infection.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Success in resolving hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection has been correlated to vigorous, multispecific, and sustained CD8(+) T-cell response in humans and chimpanzees. The efficacy of inducing T-cell-mediated immunity by recombinant serotype 5 adenovirus vector has been proven in many animal models of infectious diseases, but its immunogenicity can be negatively influenced by preexisting immunity against the vector itself. To evaluate the less prevalent adenovirus serotype 6 (Ad6) as an alternative vector for and HCV vaccine development, we have generated serotype 5 and 6 adenoviral vectors directing expression of the nonstructural region of HCV (MRKAd5-NSmut and MRKAd6-NSmut). Immunogenicity studies in mice showed that the two vectors induced comparable T-cell responses but that only MRKAd6-NSmut was not suppressed in the presence of anti-Ad5 immunity. In contrast, preexisting anti-Ad5 immunity dramatically blunted the immunogenicity of the serotype 5-based HCV vector. Furthermore, MRKAd6-NSmut showed equivalent potency, breadth, and longevity of HCV-specific T-cell responses in rhesus macaques as the corresponding Ad5-based vector over a wide range of doses and was capable of boosting DNA-primed animals even if administered at low doses. These data support the use of the MRKAd6-NSmut for anti-HCV immunotherapy and, more generally, for the Ad6 serotype as a better genetic vaccine vehicle than Ad5.
Journal of Virology 03/2006; 80(4):1688-99. · 5.08 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Adenovirus 5 (Ad5) vectors show promise as human immunodeficiency virus vaccine candidates. Indian rhesus macaques vaccinated with Ad5-gag controlled simian-human immunodeficiency virus SHIV89.6P viral replication in the absence of Env immunogens that might elicit humoral immunity. Here we immunized 15 macaques using either a homologous Ad5-gag/Ad5-gag (Ad5/Ad5) or a heterologous DNA-gag/Ad5-gag (DNA/Ad5) prime-boost regimen and challenged them with a high dose of simian immunodeficiency virus SIVmac239. Macaques vaccinated with the DNA/Ad5 regimen experienced a brief viral load nadir of less than 10,000 viral copies per ml blood plasma that was not seen in Mamu-A*01-negative DNA/Ad5 vaccinees, Mamu-A*01-positive Ad5/Ad5 vaccinees, or vaccine-naive controls. Interestingly, most of these animals were not durably protected from disease progression when challenged with SIVmac239. To investigate the reasons underlying this short-lived vaccine effect, we investigated breadth of the T-cell response, immunogenetic background, and viral escape from CD8+ lymphocytes that recognize immunodominant T-cell epitopes. We show that these animals do not mount unusually broad cellular immune response, nor do they express unusual major histocompatibility complex class I alleles. Viral recrudescence occurred in four of the five Mamu-A*01-positive vaccinated macaques. However, only a single animal in this group demonstrated viral escape in the immunodominant Gag181-189 CM9 response. These results suggest that viral "breakthrough" in vaccinated animals and viral escape are not inextricably linked and underscore the need for additional research into the mechanisms of vaccine failure.
Journal of Virology 01/2006; 79(24):15556-66. · 5.08 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The prophylactic efficacy of DNA and replication-incompetent adenovirus serotype 5 (Ad5) vaccine vectors expressing simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) Gag was examined in rhesus macaques using an SIVmac239 challenge. Cohorts of either Mamu-A*01(+) or Mamu-A*01(-) macaques were immunized with a DNA prime-Ad5 boost regimen; for comparison, a third cohort consisting of Mamu-A*01(+) monkeys was immunized using the Ad5 vector alone for both prime and boost. All animals, along with unvaccinated control cohorts of Mamu-A*01(+) and Mamu-A*01(-) macaques, were challenged intrarectally with SIVmac239. Viral loads were measured in both peripheral and lymphoid compartments. Only the DNA prime-Ad5-boosted Mamu-A*01(+) cohort exhibited a notable reduction in peak plasma viral load (sevenfold) as well as in early set-point viral burdens in both plasma and lymphoid tissues (10-fold) relative to those observed in the control monkeys sharing the same Mamu-A*01 allele. The degree of control in each animal correlated with the levels of Gag-specific immunity before virus challenge. However, virus control was short-lived, and indications of viral escape were evident as early as 6 months postinfection. The implications of these results in vaccine design and clinical testing are discussed.
Journal of Virology 01/2006; 79(24):15547-55. · 5.08 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Simian-human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV) challenge studies in rhesus macaques were conducted to evaluate the efficacy of adenovirus-based vaccines in the context of different major histocompatibility complex class I genetic backgrounds and different vaccine compositions. Mamu-A*01 allele-negative rhesus monkeys were immunized with one of the following vaccine constructs: (i) replication-defective recombinant adenovirus type 5 (Ad5) expressing human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) Tat (Ad5/HIVTat); (ii) Ad5 vector expressing simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) Gag (Ad5/SIVGag); (iii) Ad5 vector expressing the truncated HIV-1(jrfl) Env, gp140 (Ad5/gp140_jrfl); (iv) Ad5 vector expressing the SHIV-89.6P gp140 (Ad5/gp140_89.6P); or (v) the combination of Ad5/SIVGag and Ad5/gp140_jrfl. Following intravenous challenge with SHIV-89.6P, only those cohorts that received vaccines expressing Gag or Env exhibited an attenuation of the acute viremia and associated CD4-cell lymphopenia. While no prechallenge neutralizing antibody titers were detectable in either Ad5/gp140-vaccinated group, an accelerated neutralizing antibody response was observed in the Ad5/gp140_89.6P-vaccinated group upon viral challenge. The set-point viral loads in the Ad5/SIVGag- and Ad5/gp140_jrfl-vaccinated groups were associated with the overall strength of the induced cellular immune responses. To examine the contribution of Mamu-A*01 allele in vaccine efficacy against SHIV-89.6P challenge, Mamu-A*01-positive monkeys were immunized with Ad5/SIVGag. Vaccine-mediated protection was significantly more pronounced in the Mamu-A*01-positive monkeys than in Mamu-A*01-negative monkeys, suggesting the strong contributions of T-cell epitopes restricted by the Mamu-A*01 molecule. The implications of these results in the development of an HIV-1 vaccine will be discussed.
Journal of Virology 11/2005; 79(19):12321-31. · 5.08 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We compared the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-specific cellular immune responses elicited in nonhuman primates by HIV-1 gag-expressing replication-defective adenovirus serotype 5 (Ad5) or poxvirus vectors, used either alone or in combination with each other. The responses arising from a heterologous Ad5 priming-poxvirus boosting regimen were significantly greater than those elicited by homologous regimens with the individual vectors or by a heterologous poxvirus priming-Ad5 boosting regimen. The heterologous Ad5 priming-poxvirus boosting approach may have potential utility in humans as a means of inducing high levels of cellular immunity.
Journal of Virology 11/2004; 78(20):11434-8. · 5.08 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A universal influenza virus vaccine that does not require frequent updates and/or annual immunizations will offer significant advantages over current seasonal flu vaccines. The highly conserved influenza virus A M2 membrane protein has been previously suggested as a potential antigen target for such a vaccine. Here, we report systematic evaluation of M2 peptide conjugate vaccines (synthetic peptides of M2 extracellular domain conjugated to keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH) or Neisseria meningitidis outer membrane protein complex (OMPC)) in mice, ferrets, and rhesus monkeys. The conjugate vaccines were highly immunogenic in all species tested and were able to confer both protection against lethal challenge of either H1N1 or H3N1 virus in mice and reduce viral shedding in the lower respiratory tracts of mice and ferrets. The protection against lethal challenge in mice could also be achieved by passive transfer of monkey sera containing high M2 antibody titers. In addition, we showed that M2 antisera were cross reactive with M2 peptides derived from a wide range of human influenza A strains, but they failed to react with M2 peptides of the pathogenic H5N1 virus (A/Hong Kong/97). The data presented here will permit better understanding of the potential of an M2-based vaccine approach.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Set-point viral load is positively correlated with the extent of initial viral replication in pathogenic simian-human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV) infection. To elucidate the mechanisms underlying the correlation, we conducted a systematic investigation in rhesus monkeys infected with the highly pathogenic SHIV 89.6P. This model is widely used in the preclinical evaluation of AIDS vaccine candidates and a thorough understanding of the model's biology is important to the proper interpretation of these evaluations. We found that the levels of peak viremia were positively correlated not only with the levels of set-point viremia but, importantly, with the extent of initial overall immune destruction as indicated by the degree of CD4+ T cell depletion and lymph node germinal center (GC) formation. The extent of initial overall immune destruction was inversely correlated with subsequent development and maintenance of virus-specific cellular and humoral immune responses. Thus, these data suggest that the extent of early immune damage determines the development and durability of virus-specific immunity, thereby playing a critical role in establishing the levels of set-point viral replication in SHIV infection. Vaccines that limit both the initial viral replication and the extent of early immune damage will therefore mediate long-term virus replication control and mitigation of long-term immune destruction in this model of immunodeficiency virus infection.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Replication-defective recombinant adenoviruses (rAd) are used as vectors for vaccines as well as for gene therapy. To determine type-specific antibodies to adenovirus (Ad) serotypes 2, 5, 24, 34, and 35, we developed quantitative neutralization assays using recombinant adenoviruses with the secreted alkaline phosphatase (SEAP) reporter gene. Among the standardized parameters, the concentration of infectious and noninfectious adenoviral particles used in the assay is critical for a reliable comparison of data from different studies. The usefulness of this assay was demonstrated in a pilot epidemiologic study of 40 healthy individuals. In this study, the highest prevalence of antiadenovirus antibodies was found for the Ad2 serotype (82.5%), followed by Ad5 (35%). The prevalence of antiadenovirus antibodies for the serotypes 24, 34, and 35 was low (7.5%, 2.5%, and 0%, respectively). In addition, epidemiologic parameters such as gender and age were statistically evaluated. A positive association was found between age and the presence of anti-Ad5 antibodies. The assay was also useful for evaluating the presence of antiadenovirus antibodies in the design of vaccines using a rhesus monkey model. In this animal model, it was possible to determine differential dose and time responses, and the specificity for the detection of neutralizing antibodies was assessed. The evaluation of serotype-specific neutralizing antibodies can be of both clinical and epidemiologic importance as a means of selecting the appropriate serotype adenovector(s).
Human Gene Therapy 04/2004; 15(3):293-304. · 4.02 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The cellular immunogenicity of formulated plasmid DNA and replication-defective human adenovirus serotype 5 (Ad5) vaccine vectors expressing a codon-optimized human immunodeficiency virus type 1 gag gene was examined in baboons. The Ad5 vaccine was capable of inducing consistently strong, long-lived CD8(+)-biased T-cell responses and in vitro cytotoxic activities. The DNA vaccine-elicited immune responses were weaker than those elicited by the Ad5 vaccine and highly variable; formulation with chemical adjuvants led to moderate increases in the levels of Gag-specific T cells. Increasing the DNA-primed responses with booster doses of either Ad5 or modified vaccinia virus Ankara vaccines suggests a difference in the relative levels of cytotoxic and helper responses. The implications of these results are discussed.
Journal of Virology 08/2003; 77(13):7663-8. · 5.08 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cellular immune responses, particularly those associated with CD3(+) CD8(+) cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL), play a primary role in controlling viral infection, including persistent infection with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). Accordingly, recent HIV-1 vaccine research efforts have focused on establishing the optimal means of eliciting such antiviral CTL immune responses. We evaluated several DNA vaccine formulations, a modified vaccinia virus Ankara vector, and a replication-defective adenovirus serotype 5 (Ad5) vector, each expressing the same codon-optimized HIV-1 gag gene for immunogenicity in rhesus monkeys. The DNA vaccines were formulated with and without one of two chemical adjuvants (aluminum phosphate and CRL1005). The Ad5-gag vector was the most effective in eliciting anti-Gag CTL. The vaccine produced both CD4(+) and CD8(+) T-cell responses, with the latter consistently being the dominant component. To determine the effect of existing antiadenovirus immunity on Ad5-gag-induced immune responses, monkeys were exposed to adenovirus subtype 5 that did not encode antigen prior to immunization with Ad5-gag. The resulting anti-Gag T-cell responses were attenuated but not abolished. Regimens that involved priming with different DNA vaccine formulations followed by boosting with the adenovirus vector were also compared. Of the formulations tested, the DNA-CRL1005 vaccine primed T-cell responses most effectively and provided the best overall immune responses after boosting with Ad5-gag. These results are suggestive of an immunization strategy for humans that are centered on use of the adenovirus vector and in which existing adenovirus immunity may be overcome by combined immunization with adjuvanted DNA and adenovirus vector boosting.
Journal of Virology 07/2003; 77(11):6305-13. · 5.08 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The tetracycline (Tc)-dependent system in its "on" version (rtTA system) displays a baseline activity in the uninduced state, severely limiting its potential applicability in human gene therapy. So far, two different strategies to circumvent this limitation have been described. On one side, co-expression of the tetracycline regulated repressor tTS(kid) has proved capable of substantially reducing the baseline activity of rtTA. On the other, novel versions of the activator, namely rtTA2(s)-S2 and rtTA2(s)-M2, with a lower basal activity have been engineered. We have combined these two approaches by co-expressing TS(kid) with the novel transactivators. Bicistronic vectors were constructed that co-express TS(kid) with rtTA, rtTA2(s)-S2, or rtTA2(s) M2, through an internal ribosome entry site (plasmids IRES-A, IRES-S2, and IRES-M2, respectively). IRES-M2 proved to be the most effective construct EX VIVO: it displayed a negligible basal activity, > 1000 fold inducibility, and high responsiveness to doxycycline (Dox). Upon delivery as plasmid DNA in mouse muscles, IRES-M2 facilitated 1000-fold induction of serum alkaline phosphatase (SEAP) gene expression and long-term, stringent, and strictly Dox-dose-dependent regulation of erythropoietin (Epo) gene expression. Tight regulation of the gene encoding SEAP was demonstrated also in non-human primates. Notably, the system was induced in animals by Dox-dosing regimens comparable to those used in humans.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Expression of several major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I alleles is associated with a protective effect against disease progression in both human immunodeficiency virus type 1 and simian immunodeficiency virus infection. To understand the mechanism underlying this effect, we investigated the expression of the MHC class I allele Mamu-A*01 in simian-human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV) infection, one of the major models for evaluation of AIDS vaccine candidates. We found that disease progression was significantly delayed in Mamu-A*01-positive rhesus monkeys infected with the highly pathogenic SHIV 89.6P. The delay corresponded not only to a noted Mamu-A*01-restricted dominant cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) response but also to a lower viral load in lymph nodes (LN) and, importantly, to minimal destruction of LN structure during early infection. In contrast, Mamu-A*01-negative monkeys exhibited massive destruction of LN structure with accompanying rapid disease progression. These data indicate that MHC class I allele-restricted CTL responses may play an important role in preservation of lymphoid tissue structure, thereby resulting in attenuation of disease progression in immunodeficiency virus infection.
Journal of Virology 01/2003; 76(24):12845-54. · 5.08 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We examined the influence of dose and method of antigen delivery on the dynamics and durability of T-cell responses to candidate human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) vaccines. Codon-optimized sequences from the HIV gag gene were inserted into alternative DNA vaccine vectors to express the coding sequence with or without the tissue plasminogen activator leader sequence. We delivered the vaccines by intramuscular injection as plasmid DNA without adjuvant or as plasmid DNA formulated with a novel block copolymer adjuvant (CRL8623) and then monitored the ensuing T-cell responses by using a gamma interferon enzyme-linked immunospot assay. We demonstrated persistence of the cell-mediated immune (CMI) response in rhesus macaques for at least 18 months following a four-dose vaccination regimen. The plasmid vaccine, with or without CRL8623, was immunogenic in macaques; however, the form coadministered with adjuvant exhibited improved T-cell responses, with a bias toward more antigen-specific CD8(+) T cells. Finally, we examined the fine specificity of the T-cell response to the gag vaccines by testing the response of 23 vaccinated macaques to individual Gag 20-mer peptides. Collectively, the monkeys responded to 25 epitopes, and, on average, each monkey recognized a minimum of 2.7 epitopes. The results indicate that a broad and durable CMI response to HIV DNA vaccines can be induced in a relevant nonhuman primate model.
Journal of Virology 11/2002; 76(19):10038-43. · 5.08 Impact Factor