Body's antibodies harnessed against HIV
16 March 2009 00:00 in Industry related health news
Harnessing the body's natural responses to HIV may offer a fresh way forward for developing vaccines against the virus.
Scientists at the Rockefeller University have isolated 433 antibodies which target "the chink in HIV's protean armour".
Vaccine development for the disease has traditionally focused on creating a small number of engineered super antibodies.
Analysis of the behaviour of the immune system in HIV patients whose bodies put up an exceptionally strong fight has revealed the body's natural response may provide an opportunity for alternative treatment.
By cloning the effective natural antibodies and producing them in bulk, Johannes Scheid and colleagues identified a new structure within the envelope protein which is a potential target for antibodies.
Michel Nussenzweig, who led the research, said using a wide range of natural antibodies rather than an engineered magic bullet appeared promising.
"We wanted to try something different, so we tried to reproduce what's in the patient," he explained.
"And what's in the patient is many different antibodies that individually have limited neutralising abilities but together are quite powerful.
"This should make people think about what an effective vaccine should look like," Mr Nussenzweig concluded.
Other news stories from 16/03/2009
Read more in the Zenopa News Archive
How this news is generated
Story collated for Zenopa by the Adfero News Agency