Jean Marie Andrie (Nobel prize candidate) - News from 5th NESA Inrternational Surgical ConferenceUniversité Paris-Descartes, Paris, France
In acute viral infections (such as poliomyelitis, smallpox, measles, Hepatitis B and many others), the virus entering the body for the first time proliferates in its target cells; at the same time, it induces neutralizing antibodies that, although they develop too late to prevent the pathology, eventually eradicate the virus and neutralize any further attack by the same virus. Such viral infections are vaccinable with compositions that are generally made of inactivated virus (or chosen parts of it) and of an adjuvant amplifying the antibody production. Such vaccines generate antiviral antibodies that neutralize and eradicate the virus before it attacks its target cells.
HIV infection is not a vaccinable infection since the antiviral antibodies raised during the primary infection result in a viral control which is only partial and transitory ; the result is a progressive destruction of the immune system that ends eventually in the various fatal manifestations of HIV. Faced to the challenge of that apparently non-vaccinable infection, vaccinologists have tried over the last 25 years to develop prototypes incorporating newly identified viral peptides/epitopes (or their DNA sequences) susceptible to play a role in the infectious process.
So far, however, their efforts were unsuccessful. In the present talk, I will describe the alternative approach I developed over the last 5 years with my colleague Wei Lu. We based our research on the observation that a very small percentage (<1%) of HIV-infected patients as well as some SIV-infected macaques (identified as elite controllers or “EC”) have a strong but non-antibody-dependant control of virus replication (despite the virus still latently infects the nucleus of their target CD4+T-cells).
First, we showed that SIV replication of EC manaques was suppresed by a set of T regulatory cells with a CD8 phenotype. We then developed a new type of vaccine thatdoes not induce SIV-specific antibodies but SIV-specific regulatory CD8+T-cells. We showed that vaccinated monkeys were protected for >1 year from several SIV challenges. It remains to know whether such a suppressive T-cells vaccine is transferable in humans to prevent and treat HIV infection.