[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent advances in assay technology have led to major improvements in how HIV-1 neutralizing antibodies are measured. A luciferase reporter gene assay performed in TZM-bl (JC53bl-13) cells has been optimized and validated. Because this assay has been adopted by multiple laboratories worldwide, an external proficiency testing program was developed to ensure data equivalency across laboratories performing this neutralizing antibody assay for HIV/AIDS vaccine clinical trials. The program was optimized by conducting three independent rounds of testing, with an increased level of stringency from the first to third round. Results from the participating domestic and international laboratories improved each round as factors that contributed to inter-assay variability were identified and minimized. Key contributors to increased agreement were experience among laboratories and standardization of reagents. A statistical qualification rule was developed using a simulation procedure based on the three optimization rounds of testing, where a laboratory qualifies if at least 25 of the 30 ID50 values lie within the acceptance ranges. This ensures no more than a 20% risk that a participating laboratory fails to qualify when it should, as defined by the simulation procedure. Five experienced reference laboratories were identified and tested a series of standardized reagents to derive the acceptance ranges for pass-fail criteria. This Standardized Proficiency Testing Program is the first available for the evaluation and documentation of assay equivalency for laboratories performing HIV-1 neutralizing antibody assays and may provide guidance for the development of future proficiency testing programs for other assay platforms.
Journal of immunological methods 01/2012; 375(1-2):57-67. · 2.35 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: DNA vaccines are a promising approach to vaccination since they circumvent the problem of vector-induced immunity. DNA plasmid cytokine adjuvants have been shown to augment immune responses in small animals and in macaques.
We performed two first in human HIV vaccine trials in the US, Brazil and Thailand of an RNA-optimized truncated HIV-1 gag gene (p37) DNA derived from strain HXB2 administered either alone or in combination with dose-escalation of IL-12 or IL-15 plasmid cytokine adjuvants. Vaccinations with both the HIV immunogen and cytokine adjuvant were generally well-tolerated and no significant vaccine-related adverse events were identified. A small number of subjects developed asymptomatic low titer antibodies to IL-12 or IL-15. Cellular immunogenicity following 3 and 4 vaccinations was poor, with response rates to gag of 4.9%/8.7% among vaccinees receiving gag DNA alone, 0%/11.5% among those receiving gag DNA+IL-15, and no responders among those receiving DNA+high dose (1500 ug) IL-12 DNA. However, after three doses, 44.4% (4/9) of vaccinees receiving gag DNA and intermediate dose (500 ug) of IL-12 DNA demonstrated a detectable cellular immune response.
This combination of HIV gag DNA with plasmid cytokine adjuvants was well tolerated. There were minimal responses to HIV gag DNA alone, and no apparent augmentation with either IL-12 or IL-15 plasmid cytokine adjuvants. Despite the promise of DNA vaccines, newer formulations or methods of delivery will be required to increase their immunogenicity.
Clinicaltrials.gov NCT00115960 NCT00111605.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(1):e29231. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A candidate vaccine consisting of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) subunit gp120 protein was found previously to be nonprotective in an efficacy trial (Vax004) despite strong antibody responses against the vaccine antigens. Here we assessed the magnitude and breadth of neutralizing antibody responses in Vax004.
Neutralizing antibodies were measured against highly sensitive (tier 1) and moderately sensitive (tier 2) strains of HIV-1 subtype B in 2 independent assays. Vaccine recipients were stratified by sex, race, and high versus low behavioral risk of HIV-1 acquisition.
Most vaccine recipients mounted potent neutralizing antibody responses against HIV-1(MN) and other tier 1 viruses. Occasional weak neutralizing activity was detected against tier 2 viruses. The response against tier 1 and tier 2 viruses was significantly stronger in women than in men. Race and behavioral risk of HIV-1 acquisition had no significant effect on the response. Prior vaccination had little effect on the neutralizing antibody response that arose after infection.
Weak overall neutralizing antibody responses against tier 2 viruses is consistent with a lack of protection in this trial. The magnitude and breadth of neutralization reported here should be useful for identifying improved vaccines.
The Journal of Infectious Diseases 08/2010; 202(4):595-605. · 5.85 Impact Factor