A Phase 1 Study to Evaluate the Safety and Immunogenicity of a Recombinant HIV Type 1 Subtype C-Modified Vaccinia Ankara Virus Vaccine Candidate in Indian Volunteers

Tuberculosis Research Centre, Chennai, India.
AIDS research and human retroviruses (Impact Factor: 2.33). 11/2009; 25(11):1107-16. DOI: 10.1089/aid.2009.0096
Source: PubMed


A recombinant modified vaccinia Ankara virus vaccine candidate (TBC-M4) expressing HIV-1 subtype C env, gag, tat-rev, and nef-RT genes was tested in a randomized, double-blind, dose escalation Phase I trial in 32 HIV-uninfected healthy volunteers who received three intramuscular injections of TBC-M4 at 0, 1, and 6 months of 5 x 10(7) plaque-forming units (pfu) (low dosage, LD) (n = 12) or 2.5 x 10(8) pfu (high dosage, HD) (n = 12) or placebo (n = 8). Local and systemic reactogenicity was experienced by approximately 67% and 83% of vaccine recipients, respectively. The reactogenicity events were mostly mild in severity. Severe but transient systemic reactogenicity was seen in one volunteer of the HD group. No vaccine-related serious adverse events or events suggesting perimyocarditis were seen. A higher frequency of local reactogenicity events was observed in the HD group. Cumulative HIV-specific IFN-gamma ELISPOT responses were detected in frozen PBMCs from 9/11 (82%), 12/12 (100%), and 1/8 (13%) volunteers after the third injection of the LD, HD, and placebo groups, respectively. Most of the responses were to gag and env proteins (maximum of 430 SFU/10(6) PBMCs) persisting across multiple time points. HIV-specific ELISA antibody responses were detected in 10/11, 12/12, and 0/8 volunteers post-third vaccination, in the LD, HD, and placebo groups, respectively. No neutralizing activity against HIV-1 subtype C isolates was detected. TBC-M4 appears to be generally safe and well-tolerated. The immune response detected was dose dependent, modest in magnitude, and directed mostly to env and gag proteins, suggesting further evaluation of this vaccine in a prime-boost regimen.

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    • "Minimal toxicity is thus expected for vaccine 1. The tested target dose (1x108 plaque-forming units) corresponds to the standard dose tested for MVA vaccinations against smallpox [22,27] and to the dose selected in previous dose-escalation studies of MVA vectors with HIV and non-HIV inserts [20,24,28,29]. No dose escalation is thus planned for this vaccine in our development plan. "
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    ABSTRACT: Many candidate vaccine strategies against human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection are under study, but their clinical development is lengthy and iterative. To accelerate HIV vaccine development optimised trial designs are needed. We propose a randomised multi-arm phase I/II design for early stage development of several vaccine strategies, aiming at rapidly discarding those that are unsafe or non-immunogenic. We explored early stage designs to evaluate both the safety and the immunogenicity of four heterologous prime-boost HIV vaccine strategies in parallel. One of the vaccines used as a prime and boost in the different strategies (vaccine 1) has yet to be tested in humans, thus requiring a phase I safety evaluation. However, its toxicity risk is considered minimal based on data from similar vaccines. We newly adapted a randomised phase II trial by integrating an early safety decision rule, emulating that of a phase I study. We evaluated the operating characteristics of the proposed design in simulation studies with either a fixed-sample frequentist or a continuous Bayesian safety decision rule and projected timelines for the trial. We propose a randomised four-arm phase I/II design with two independent binary endpoints for safety and immunogenicity. Immunogenicity evaluation at trial end is based on a single-stage Fleming design per arm, comparing the observed proportion of responders in an immunogenicity screening assay to an unacceptably low proportion, without direct comparisons between arms. Randomisation limits heterogeneity in volunteer characteristics between arms. To avoid exposure of additional participants to an unsafe vaccine during the vaccine boost phase, an early safety decision rule is imposed on the arm starting with vaccine 1 injections. In simulations of the design with either decision rule, the risks of erroneous conclusions were controlled <15%. Flexibility in trial conduct is greater with the continuous Bayesian rule. A 12-month gain in timelines is expected by this optimised design. Other existing designs such as bivariate or seamless phase I/II designs did not offer a clear-cut alternative. By combining phase I and phase II evaluations in a multi-arm trial, the proposed optimised design allows for accelerating early stage clinical development of HIV vaccine strategies.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2014 · Trials
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    • "MVA is a safe vector and despite its limited replication in human and most mammalian cell types, provides a high level of gene expression and triggers antigen-specific immune responses when delivered to animals and humans [1], [2], [4]. Many MVA recombinants expressing different HIV-1 antigens have been generated worldwide, and tested in different animal models and in several clinical trials in humans [1], [5], [6], [7], [8], [9], [10], [11], [12], [13], showing that they are safe, able to induce high levels of expression of HIV-1 antigens, and triggered immune responses to HIV-1 antigens. In particular, we have constructed a recombinant MVA expressing Env, as monomeric gp120, and the codon-optimized polyprotein Gag-Pol-Nef (GPN) of HIV-1 from clade B (referred as MVA-B), that in mice induced strong, broad, polyfunctional and durable HIV-1 specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cell immune responses (with a bias for CD8+) [14], [15], [16], [17]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Poxvirus vector Modified Vaccinia Virus Ankara (MVA) expressing HIV-1 Env, Gag, Pol and Nef antigens from clade B (termed MVA-B) is a promising HIV/AIDS vaccine candidate, as confirmed from results obtained in a prophylactic phase I clinical trial in humans. To improve the immunogenicity elicited by MVA-B, we have generated and characterized the innate immune sensing and the in vivo immunogenicity profile of a vector with a double deletion in two vaccinia virus (VACV) genes (C6L and K7R) coding for inhibitors of interferon (IFN) signaling pathways. The innate immune signals elicited by MVA-B deletion mutants (MVA-B ΔC6L and MVA-B ΔC6L/K7R) in human macrophages and monocyte-derived dendritic cells (moDCs) showed an up-regulation of the expression of IFN-β, IFN-α/β-inducible genes, TNF-α, and other cytokines and chemokines. A DNA prime/MVA boost immunization protocol in mice revealed that these MVA-B deletion mutants were able to improve the magnitude and quality of HIV-1-specific CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cell adaptive and memory immune responses, which were mostly mediated by CD8(+) T cells of an effector phenotype, with MVA-B ΔC6L/K7R being the most immunogenic virus recombinant. CD4(+) T cell responses were mainly directed against Env, while GPN-specific CD8(+) T cell responses were induced preferentially by the MVA-B deletion mutants. Furthermore, antibody levels to Env in the memory phase were slightly enhanced by the MVA-B deletion mutants compared to the parental MVA-B. These findings revealed that double deletion of VACV genes that act blocking intracellularly the IFN signaling pathway confers an immunological benefit, inducing innate immune responses and increases in the magnitude, quality and durability of the HIV-1-specific T cell immune responses. Our observations highlighted the immunomodulatory role of the VACV genes C6L and K7R, and that targeting common pathways, like IRF3/IFN-β signaling, could be a general strategy to improve the immunogenicity of poxvirus-based vaccine candidates.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2013 · PLoS ONE
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    • "Two phase I clinical HIV prophylactic vaccine trials have been conducted previously in India to evaluate Adenovirus-Associated Virus (AAV) and Modified Vaccinia Ankara (MVA) based HIV vaccines. Although the AAV-based vaccine showed poor immunogenicity, the MVA HIV-1 subtype C vaccine induced a modest level of dose-dependent immune responses [2], [3], [4]. "
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    ABSTRACT: A randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled phase I trial. The trial was conducted in 32 HIV-uninfected healthy volunteers to assess the safety and immunogenicity of prime-boost vaccination regimens with either 2 doses of ADVAX, a DNA vaccine containing Chinese HIV-1 subtype C env gp160, gag, pol and nef/tat genes, as a prime and 2 doses of TBC-M4, a recombinant MVA encoding Indian HIV-1 subtype C env gp160, gag, RT, rev, tat, and nef genes, as a boost in Group A or 3 doses of TBC-M4 alone in Group B participants. Out of 16 participants in each group, 12 received vaccine candidates and 4 received placebos. Both vaccine regimens were found to be generally safe and well tolerated. The breadth of anti-HIV binding antibodies and the titres of anti-HIV neutralizing antibodies were significantly higher (p<0.05) in Group B volunteers at 14 days post last vaccination. Neutralizing antibodies were detected mainly against Tier-1 subtype B and C viruses. HIV-specific IFN-γ ELISPOT responses were directed mostly to Env and Gag proteins. Although the IFN-γ ELISPOT responses were infrequent after ADVAX vaccinations, the response rate was significantly higher in group A after 1(st) and 2(nd) MVA doses as compared to the responses in group B volunteers. However, the priming effect was short lasting leading to no difference in the frequency, breadth and magnitude of IFN-γELISPOT responses between the groups at 3, 6 and 9 months post-last vaccination. Although DNA priming resulted in enhancement of immune responses after 1(st) MVA boosting, the overall DNA prime MVA boost was not found to be immunologically superior to homologous MVA boosting. Clinical Trial Registry CTRI/2009/091/000051.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2013 · PLoS ONE
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