Seattle -- Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC), the University of Washington (UW) and Targeted Genetics Corp. (Nasdaq:TGEN) announce the publication of data from a Phase I study evaluating a new concept in the therapy of HIV-1 infection. The paper ,titled "In vivo Migration and Function of Transferred HIV-1 Specific Cytotoxic T Cells," appears in the current issue of the journal Nature Medicine.
The study, a collaborative effort by Stanley Riddell, M.D., Philip Greenberg, M.D., Lawrence Corey, M.D., Scott Brodie, Ph.D., and Debra Lewinsohn, M.D., researchers at FHCRC and UW, Bruce Patterson, Ph.D., of Northwestern University, and Targeted Genetics used the immune system, specifically cytotoxic T cells, to destroy HIV-infected cells.
"This is a first step in developing an approach that uses the patient's own immune system to combat HIV infection," said Riddell. "Remarkably, a few CTLs can be expanded to more than a billion in culture and still retain the ability to function and home normally in the body. The results are encouraging, but it will be essential to develop approaches to improve the survival and the duration of the antiviral activity."
Cytotoxic, or killer, T cells (CTLs) that function to eliminate virally infected or malignant cells are part of the normal, healthy immune system. For those infected with HIV these CTLs are present, but are insufficient to control HIV replication. For the study, researchers hypothesized that infusing larger numbers of these cells would help control HIV replication. In addition, since each patient has unique cytotoxic T cells specific to HIV-1, it was important to isolate and expand cells from each patient treated.
In this study CTLs capable of recognizing the HIV-1 Gag protein (Gag-specific
CTLs) were isolated from HIV positive patients and grown in culture to produce
billions of CTLs capable of attacking HIV-infected cells. These enlarged pool
of cells were then infuse
Contact: Susan Edmonds
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center