Give Me Some Skin to Fight HIV

HIV vaccine patch targets dentritic skin cells

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Infectious disease prevention is often aided with the introduction of new antiretroviral drugs. Poor nations facing infectious diseases epidemics have limited access to these new drug therapies.

Recent successful advances in preventing the spread of HIV, tuberculosis (TB) and cytomegalovirus (CMV) have used two main approaches: vaccines and the application of gels to the skin prior to sexual intercourse capable of killing organisms that commonly cause these infections.

Researchers plan to combine these two approaches to develop a patch vaccine to prevent transmission of HIV.

"Patch vaccine in the works for prevention of HIV, TB and CMV."

Professor Vincent Piguet from Cardiff University's School of Medicine reports that two new studies will target dendritic cells in the skin, the body’s first line of defense against infections and orchestrators of the immune system’s response to infections.

Piguet plans on using small micro needles in a patch applied directly to the skin in the hopes that they are able to target these dendritic cells much more efficiently and modulate the cells' functions to increase their potency and increase the body’s natural immune response.

Colleagues from Switzerland, the University of Oxford and Harvard University will join the Cardiff team in using human blood and skin cells to map the natural immune response in order to mimic this response.

Piguet adds that technical advances of new intradermal vaccinations means that a new vaccine could possibly reduce costs, increase efficiency and increase safety. Disease prevention is key to addressing the current epidemics of HIV, TB and CMV in developing countries because access to the more expensive antiviral and antibacterial drugs is too expensive and limited.

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Review Date: 
July 11, 2011
Last Updated:
September 14, 2012