UNC to Test Therapeutic HIV Vaccine

Nilu Goonetilleke, Ph.D., will lead the study testing a therapeutic vaccine for HIV.

Nilu Goonetilleke, Ph.D., will lead the study testing a therapeutic vaccine for HIV.

A multidisciplinary research team at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has been awarded more than $5.6 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to test a therapeutic vaccine in people living with HIV. Strengthening and redirecting the immune system’s anti-HIV response are the primary goals of the five-year study.

“The first generation of this vaccine produced an impressive immune response in people living with HIV,” said Nilu Goonetilleke, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Departments of Medicine, Microbiology and Immunology at UNC. “Here we will test the second generation of this vaccine that we hope will be even better at targeting HIV reservoirs in the body.”

A challenge to achieving an HIV cure is that the virus enters a resting state in the body. Latency-reversing agents have shown promise in awaking these dormant reservoirs. If the vaccine proves successful in boosting and controlling the immune system’s response to HIV, it could eventually be paired with latency-reversing agents to clear the virus.

“The next step would be a combination study investigating a latency-reversing agent and the vaccine,” Goonetilleke said. “Ultimately, we want to improve clearance of these reactivated cells and reduce the viral reservoir.”

The study will recruit patients at UNC who are living with HIV, but who are virally suppressed due to antiretroviral therapy. Goonetilleke will work with colleagues across campus, including the Center for AIDS Research, the Division of Infectious Diseases and the Department of Biostatistics. The University of Oxford will provide the vaccine.

Triangle Immunology and Virology Meeting

immunologyThe Triangle Immunology and Virology Interest Group is hosting a meeting: “Resistance, Immunity and Vaccines: Lessons from our Feathered Friends”

Matt Koci
Prestage Department of Poultry Science, North Carolina State University

Wednesday, February 4, 2015 at 6:00 pm
North Carolina Biotechnology Center

Pizza and salad will be served following the talk.

World AIDS Day Clinical Trials Twitter Chat and ‘HIV Clinical Trials: A Year in Review’ Webinar

webinarWorld AIDS Day Clinical Trials Twitter Chat and an ‘HIV Clinical Trials: A Year in Review’ Webinar

Featuring presentations by Jim Maynard of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network, Jonathan Lucas of the HIV Prevention Trials Network and Clare Collins of the Microbicide Trials Network

WAD Clinical Trials Twitter Chat
Date: Wednesday November 19, 2014
Time: 11:00 am
Event Hashtag: #ClinicalTrialsChat

HIV Clinical Trials: A Year in Review Webinar
Date: Wednesday November 19, 2014
Time: 1:00 pm

Register here.

Friday ID Conference: “Humoral Immunity Benchmarks for Advancing HIV-1 Vaccine Candidates”

Georgia TomarasThis talk is a part of our friday morning CFAR/IGHID Friday ID Conference Series.

“Humoral Immunity Benchmarks for Advancing HIV-1 Vaccine Candidates”
Georgia Tomaras, Ph.D.
Duke Human Vaccine Institute

November 14, 2014
8:30 – 9:30 a.m.
1131 Bioinformatics
UNC Campus

Dr. Georgia Tomaras is a tenured Associate Professor of Surgery, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics and Microbiology at Duke University Medical Center. She is the P.I. of the Laboratory of Immune Responses and Virology, Director of the DHVI Training Program, and Associate Director of Research for the Duke Human Vaccine Institute. She is Associate Director for the HIV Vaccine Trial Network Laboratory Center (Duke PI) and Director of the Duke CFAR Immunology Core. Research in the Tomaras lab focuses on understanding the ontogeny and anti-HIV activity of cellular and humoral immune responses as well as the identification of HIV-1 humoral immune correlates.

Special Note: This Friday Morning Conference event will be presented as an NCATEC training, and advanced registration is requested. Register here.