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Tennessee: Volunteers Needed for HIV Trials

March 30, 2011

Vanderbilt University's HIV Vaccine Trials Unit is encouraging high-risk, HIV-negative men ages 18-45 to enroll in a trial testing a new HIV vaccine strategy.

Nashville is one of 12 sites chosen by the National Institutes of Health for the HVTN 505 trial, which will test a prime-boost vaccine approach against HIV. Sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the trial is being conducted by the NIAID-supported HIV Vaccine Trials Network.

Researchers aim to sign up at least 60 men for the Nashville arm of the study. Kyle Rybczyk, director of the Vanderbilt unit, wants to enroll even more than 60, as the study began accepting volunteers in 2009 and total national enrollment was only 883 as of mid-March of this year. To determine efficacy, the trial needs at least 1,350 volunteers.

Researchers are hoping to learn whether this particular vaccine regimen could decrease the viral load of people who become infected with HIV. Usually, the lower the viral load, the longer it can take to progress to AIDS, according to the network. A lower set point may delay illness and help lower transmission.

Participants will get a series of three immunizations with a recombinant DNA-based vaccine over eight weeks, followed by a single recombinant booster at week 24, or placebos. The DNA priming shots, as well as the adenovirus serotype 5 booster, contain more pieces of HIV DNA than the earlier STEP trial. In addition, the ad5 virus has been weakened more than the STEP trial version, expressing less adenovirus genes while still carrying HIV gene segments to the immune system, the network said.

Efficacy data should begin to develop two years into the study, said Dr. Spyros Kalams, a Vanderbilt immunologist. Those interested in volunteering can visit or telephone 615-322-HOPE.

Back to other news for March 2011

Adapted from:
The Tennessean (Nashville)
03.20.2011; Tom Wilemon

This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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