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BIA-Brukerstyrt innovasjonsarena

Advances in peptide design and laboratory testing to identify suitable peptide-based HIV immunotherapy candidates for product development

Awarded: NOK 5.8 mill.

Project Number:

174393

Project Period:

2006 - 2008

Funding received from:

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The objective of this project is to analyse and select a range of immunogenic peptides as candidate HIV immunotherapies for future human clinical trials. Immunotherapy strategies are needed to counteract both the financial and physical burdens of current HIV drugs on human health. Drug-resistant viruses have emerged causing certain drug combinations to fail. Immunotherapy aims to generate new and effective immune responses to control HIV infection in the absence of conventional drugs for prolonged periods . Prolonged drug-free periods will reduce severe toxic side effects, minimise drug resistance, reduce costs and substantially improve the quality of life of infected individuals. This project will design peptides based on new theoretical principals and d etermine whether they are presented to the immune system as efficiently as predicted by computer analysis. The peptides target dendritic cells, the most potent activators of the human immune system. Innovative laboratory techniques will analyse the peptid es in detail inside dendritic cells during the presentation process. Effective immune stimulation will be visualised by the production of new immune cells that can seek out and kill HIV infected cells in culture. This study will provide data fundamental t o the further development of effective peptide-based immunotherapies. Partner 1 will design peptides using computer software proprietary to the company. Partner 2 will verify peptide presentation to the immune system and identify which of two presentatio n pathways each peptide follows within dendritic cells. Partner 3 will verify the ability of peptide-treated dendritic cells to produce T-cell populations that can kill HIV-infected human cells in culture. Only peptides that fulfil these criteria will und ergo toxicology testing in accordance with GLP (Partner 4). This study will also help to establish international standards for the laboratory cultivation of human dendritic cells in immunotherapy applications.

Funding scheme:

BIA-Brukerstyrt innovasjonsarena