Encouraging clinical results for an antibody drug to prevent or treat HIV

February 6, 2017
Marina Caskey (above) led the first clinical study of a drug, called 10-1074, which is derived from a human antibody against HIV. Credit: The Rockefeller University

A new biologic agent—the most potent of its kind so far—is showing early promise as part of a potential new strategy for treating HIV. The drug, known as 10-1074, may also offer a new way to prevent viral infection in people who are at high risk to acquire HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

The drug belongs to a class of molecules called broadly neutralizing antibodies, which are naturally found in HIV-infected people whose immune systems have a rare ability to fight off the . These antibodies are a major area of study in the laboratory of Rockefeller University investigator Michel Nussenzweig, who is Zanvil A. Cohn and Ralph M. Steinman Professor and head of the Laboratory of Molecular Immunology. Marina Caskey, an Assistant Professor of Clinical Investigation, leads clinical studies on these antibodies.

"This was the first human trial of 10-1074," says Till Schoofs, an Instructor in Clinical Investigation in Nussenzweig's lab. "The antibody binds to a different part of the virus than the other antibody we've studied. In addition, it's one of the most potent broadly neutralizing antibodies described to date."

Today, HIV is typically treated with antiretroviral therapy, a drug regimen that became available in the 1990s. Although it has been a lifesaver for people infected with the virus, antiretroviral medications have significant drawbacks: they can cause severe side effects, and patients have to take them for life. This is why researchers continue to look for other ways to control the virus—and broadly could prove to be part of an alternate treatment strategy.

The study of 10-1074, an early-stage clinical trial, included 19 individuals who were infected with HIV and 14 who were not. The purpose was to determine whether the antibody was safe and whether it had antiviral activity in humans. The majority of the people in the trial were enrolled at The Rockefeller University Hospital, while some of the HIV-1 infected participants received the antibody at the University of Cologne, in Germany. "It has been challenging to find trial participants with high levels of the virus here in New York," Caskey says, "so our collaboration with the University of Cologne has been very valuable."

The investigators found that among 13 HIV-infected people who received the highest dose of 10-1074, 11 showed a rapid decline in the amount of virus. Although these patients were found to have some resistant virus in their blood, further research in the lab showed that those viruses were still sensitive to other , including 3BNC117, that target different parts of the pathogen. The results were published in January in Nature Medicine.

Caskey, Schoofs, and their team also analyzed the uninfected participants' blood samples, and found that 10-1074 may be an effective way to prevent infection in people who are exposed to the virus. Currently, people who do not have HIV but are at substantial risk of getting it—because they have multiple sexual partners, for example, or an HIV-infected partner—can receive antiviral medications to prevent disease, a strategy called pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). But just like the antiviral medications used to treat infection, PrEP can have severe side effects and must be taken daily to be effective, which poses significant challenges to adequate compliance.

"Based on our findings we think these types of antibodies could be a viable substitute for the drugs currently used in PrEP," says Caskey. "But to clearly demonstrate that these antibodies have an advantage over the pill that's currently used, we would need to test them in large numbers of people and show that they remain active for a prolonged period of time in the body."

In an effort to accomplish this, the investigators are looking into modified variants of the antibodies with prolonged activity, so that they would need to be given less often in the PrEP setting. And they are already moving forward with new using 10-1074 together with 3BNC117, with the hope that combining two antibodies targeting different parts of HIV will be more effective than either antibody on its own.

Explore further: Antibody combination puts HIV on the ropes

More information: Marina Caskey et al, Antibody 10-1074 suppresses viremia in HIV-1-infected individuals, Nature Medicine (2017). DOI: 10.1038/nm.4268

Related Stories

Antibody combination puts HIV on the ropes

January 25, 2017
Without antiretroviral drug treatment, the majority of people infected with HIV ultimately develop AIDS, as the virus changes and evolves beyond the body's ability to control it. But a small group of infected individuals—called ...

Successful antibody trial in HIV-infected individuals

January 17, 2017
A research team led by investigators of the Rockefeller University in New York and Prof Florian Klein, University Hospital Cologne and German Center for Infection Research (DZIF), has tested a new HIV neutralising antibody, ...

New antibody drug continues to show promise for treatment of HIV

July 26, 2016
Great strides have been made in recent years to develop treatment options for HIV, and the disease can now be controlled with anti-retroviral drugs. But a cure remains elusive and current medications have limitations: they ...

Antibody therapy opens door to potential new treatment for HIV

May 6, 2016
The development of antiretroviral therapy, a combination of drugs that slows the replication of HIV in the body, has transformed the treatment of this infection. What was once a certain death sentence is now a chronic condition ...

In first human study, new antibody therapy shows promise in suppressing HIV infection

April 8, 2015
In the first results to emerge from HIV patient trials of a new generation of so-called broadly neutralizing antibodies, Rockefeller University researchers have found the experimental therapy can dramatically reduce the amount ...

Antibody suppresses HIV in infected individuals

November 10, 2016
The administration of VRC01, a potent and broadly neutralizing HIV-specific antibody, is safe, is well-tolerated, generated high plasma concentrations and modestly delayed the return of HIV viral rebound in HIV-1 infected ...

Recommended for you

HIV-AIDS: Following your gut

September 18, 2017
Researchers at the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre (CRCHUM) have discovered a way to slow viral replication in the gastrointestinal tract of people infected by HIV-AIDS.

Study finds cutbacks in foreign aid for HIV treatment would cause great harm

August 30, 2017
Proposed reductions in U.S. foreign aid would have a devastating impact on HIV treatment and prevention programs in countries receiving such aid, an international team of investigators reports. In their paper published online ...

Cancer drug can reactivate HIV

August 24, 2017
People living with HIV must take a combination of three or more different drugs every day for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, by following this strict treatment plan, they can suffer from side effects ranging from ...

New injectable antiretroviral treatment proved to be as effective as standard oral therapy

August 3, 2017
Intramuscularly administered antiretroviral therapy (ART) may be as effective for HIV treatment as current oral therapies. This is the main conclusion of a Phase II clinical trial carried out by 50 research centers around ...

Research finds home-based kit would increase HIV testing

July 31, 2017
Research led by William Robinson, PhD, Associate Research Professor of Behavioral & Community Health Sciences at LSU Health New Orleans School of Public Health, has found that 86% of heterosexuals who are at high risk for ...

Scientists divulge latest in HIV prevention

July 25, 2017
A far cry from the 1990s "ABC" campaign promoting abstinence and monogamy as HIV protection, scientists reported on new approaches Tuesday allowing people to have all the safe sex they want.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.