register interest

Professor Tomas Hanke

Research Area: Immunology
Technology Exchange: Cell sorting, Cellular immunology, Flow cytometry, Gene therapy, Mass spectrometry, Microscopy (Confocal) and Vaccine production and evaluation
Scientific Themes: Immunology & Infectious Disease
Keywords: HIV-1, Vaccine, T cell, pre-clinical, clinical trials, prime-boost, Chimp Adenovirus, MVA, GMP vaccine and DNA vaccine
Web Links:

Professor Tomas Hanke's research aims to develop a universal HIV-1 vaccine, which targets most global virus variants including escape mutants. He strives to maintain a balance between basic and translational research. He oversees a busy pre-clinical programme encompassing HIV-1 epitope discovery and dynamics using mass spectrometry and T-cell assays, studies on immunodominance, depth (number of variants) of epitope recognition and the importance of perfect vaccine-virus epitope matching for effective effector functions. He explores novel vaccine modalities and optimize their immunogenicity in heterelogous prime-boost regimens in mice and macaques. He co-ordinates a clinical programme assessing candidate HIV vaccines in humans in UK, Europe and Africa.

  • The biggest challenges for vaccine development are HIV-1 diversity and escape. To tackle these, we have developed T-cell immunogen HIVconsv, which directs vaccine-induced responses to the most functionally conserved regions of the HIV-1 proteome and thus targets both diverse clades circulating in the population and escape mutants generated in infected individuals. Because these regions are functionally conserved, HIV-1 cannot easily change and escape them without a significant cost to its replicative fitness. The HIVconsv vaccines have entered 8 clinical trials and showed high immunogenicity in HIV-negative adults in Oxford and Kenya as well as in HIV-infected patients on antiretroviral treatment.
  • A second generation conserved mosaic vaccines called tHIVconsvX has been developed with significantly improved coverage of global HIV-1 variants and delivery. These are being characterised in pre-clinical models and are in the pipeline for clinical trials. The tHIVconsvX-induced T-cells will complement Ab vaccines while the induction of broadly neutralising antibodies remains suboptimal and will likely be key for HIV cure. 
  • In collaborations, we are assessing the importance of vector priming on induction of broadly neutralizing antibodies against HIV-1. Co-delivery of antibody and T-cell vaccines will optimised.
  • The laboratory aims to stay one step ahead of the clinical testing, developing improved next generation immunogens, vectors and regimens.

Name Department Institution Country
Dr Wayne Koff International AIDS Vaccine Initiative United States
Professor Lucy Dorrell NDM Research Building Oxford University, NDM Research Building United Kingdom
Professor Masafumi Takiguchi Kumamoto University Japan
Professor Benedikt M Kessler Target Discovery Institute Oxford University, NDM Research Building United Kingdom
Professor Louis Picker Oregon Health and Sciences University United States
Professor Barton Haynes Duke University, North Carolina United States
Professor Walter Jaoko University of Nairobi Kenya
Professor Marie Reilly Karolinska Institute Sweden
Professor John Moore Cornell University United States
Hancock G, Morón-López S, Kopycinski J, Puertas MC, Giannoulatou E, Rose A, Salgado M, Hayton EJ, Crook A, Morgan C et al. 2017. Evaluation of the immunogenicity and impact on the latent HIV-1 reservoir of a conserved region vaccine, MVA.HIVconsv, in antiretroviral therapy-treated subjects. J Int AIDS Soc, 20 (1), pp. 1-11. | Show Abstract | Read more

INTRODUCTION: Vaccines may be key components of a curative strategy for HIV-1. We investigated whether a novel immunogen, HIVconsv, designed to re-direct T cell responses to conserved viral epitopes, could impact the HIV-1 reservoir in chronic antiretroviral therapy (ART)-treated subjects when delivered by modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA). METHODS: Nineteen virologically suppressed individuals were randomized to receive vaccinations with MVA.HIVconsv (5.5 × 10(7) plaque-forming units, pfu, n = 8; 2.2 × 10(8) pfu, n = 7) or placebo (n = 4) at 0, 4 and 12 weeks. Magnitude, breadth and antiviral function of vaccine-induced T cells, cell-associated HIV-1 DNA in circulating CD4+ T cells and residual viremia in plasma were measured before and after vaccination. RESULTS: 90% of subjects completed the vaccine regimen; there were no serious vaccine-related adverse events. The magnitude of HIVconsv-specific IFN-γ-secreting T cells was not significantly boosted in vaccinees when compared with placebos in ex vivo Elispot assays, due to greater than expected variation in HIV-specific T cell responses in the latter during the observation period. Ex vivo CD8+ T cell viral inhibitory capacity was modest but significantly increased post-vaccination with MVA.HIVconsv at the higher dose (p = 0.004) and was positively correlated with the frequency of HIVconsv-specific CD8+ CD107+ IFN-α± T cells (r = 0.57, p = 0.01). Total HIV-1 DNA and residual viral load did not change significantly from baseline in any group. CONCLUSIONS: Homologous prime-boost vaccination with MVA.HIVconsv was safe in HIV-positive ART-treated subjects but showed modest immunogenicity and did not significantly change the size of the viral reservoir. MVA.HIVconsv may be more effective when used in a heterologous prime-boost vaccination regimen and when combined with a latency-reversing agent. CLINICAL TRIALS REGISTRATION: NCT01024842.

Johnson LA, Banerji S, Lawrance W, Gileadi U, Prota G, Holder KA, Roshorm YM, Hanke T, Cerundolo V, Gale NW, Jackson DG. 2017. Dendritic cells enter lymph vessels by hyaluronan-mediated docking to the endothelial receptor LYVE-1. Nat Immunol, 18 (7), pp. 762-770. | Show Abstract | Read more

Trafficking of tissue dendritic cells (DCs) via lymph is critical for the generation of cellular immune responses in draining lymph nodes (LNs). In the current study we found that DCs docked to the basolateral surface of lymphatic vessels and transited to the lumen through hyaluronan-mediated interactions with the lymph-specific endothelial receptor LYVE-1, in dynamic transmigratory-cup-like structures. Furthermore, we show that targeted deletion of the gene Lyve1, antibody blockade or depletion of the DC hyaluronan coat not only delayed lymphatic trafficking of dermal DCs but also blunted their capacity to prime CD8(+) T cell responses in skin-draining LNs. Our findings uncovered a previously unknown function for LYVE-1 and show that transit through the lymphatic network is initiated by the recognition of leukocyte-derived hyaluronan.

Mahant A, Saubi N, Eto Y, Guitart N, Gatell JM, Hanke T, Joseph J. 2017. Preclinical development of BCG.HIVA(2auxo.int), harboring an integrative expression vector, for a HIV-TB Pediatric vaccine. Enhancement of stability and specific HIV-1 T-cell immunity. Hum Vaccin Immunother, 13 (8), pp. 1798-1810. | Show Abstract | Read more

One of the critical issues that should be addressed in the development of a BCG-based HIV vaccine is genetic plasmid stability. Therefore, to address this issue we have considered using integrative vectors and the auxotrophic mutant of BCG complemented with a plasmid carrying a wild-type complementing gene. In this study, we have constructed an integrative E. coli-mycobacterial shuttle plasmid, p2auxo.HIVA(int), expressing the HIV-1 clade A immunogen HIVA. This shuttle vector uses an antibiotic resistance-free mechanism for plasmid selection and maintenance. It was first transformed into a glycine auxotrophic E. coli strain and subsequently transformed into a lysine auxotrophic Mycobacterium bovis BCG strain to generate the vaccine BCG.HIVA(2auxo.int). Presence of the HIVA gene sequence and protein expression was confirmed. We demonstrated that the in vitro stability of the integrative plasmid p2auxo.HIVA(int) was increased 4-fold, as compared with the BCG strain harboring the episomal plasmid, and was genetically and phenotypically characterized. The BCG.HIVA(2auxo.int) vaccine in combination with modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA).HIVA was found to be safe and induced HIV-1 and Mycobacterium tuberculosis-specific interferon-γ-producing T-cell responses in adult BALB/c mice. We have engineered a more stable and immunogenic BCG-vectored vaccine using the prototype immunogen HIVA. Thus, the use of integrative expression vectors and the antibiotic-free plasmid selection system based on "double" auxotrophic complementation are likely to improve the mycobacterial vaccine stability in vivo and immunogenicity to develop not only recombinant BCG-based vaccines expressing second generation of HIV-1 immunogens but also other major pediatric pathogens to prime protective responses shortly following birth.

Wee EG, Ondondo B, Berglund P, Archer J, McMichael AJ, Baltimore D, Ter Meulen JH, Hanke T. 2017. HIV-1 Conserved Mosaics Delivered by Regimens with Integration-Deficient DC-Targeting Lentiviral Vector Induce Robust T Cells. Mol Ther, 25 (2), pp. 494-503. | Show Abstract | Read more

To be effective against HIV type 1 (HIV-1), vaccine-induced T cells must selectively target epitopes, which are functionally conserved (present in the majority of currently circulating and reactivated HIV-1 strains) and, at the same time, beneficial (responses to which are associated with better clinical status and control of HIV-1 replication), and rapidly reach protective frequencies upon exposure to the virus. Heterologous prime-boost regimens using virally vectored vaccines are currently the most promising vaccine strategies; nevertheless, induction of robust long-term memory remains challenging. To this end, lentiviral vectors induce high frequencies of memory cells due to their low-inflammatory nature, while typically inducing only low anti-vector immune responses. Here, we describe construction of novel candidate vaccines ZVex.tHIVconsv1 and ZVex.tHIVconsv2, which are based on an integration-deficient lentiviral vector platform with preferential transduction of human dendritic cells and express a bivalent mosaic of conserved-region T cell immunogens with a high global HIV-1 match. Each of the two mosaic vaccines was individually immunogenic. When administered together in heterologous prime-boost regimens with chimpanzee adenovirus and/or poxvirus modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) vaccines to BALB/c and outbred CD1-Swiss mice, they induced a median frequency of over 6,000 T cells/10(6) splenocytes, which were plurifunctional, broadly specific, and cross-reactive. These results support further development of this vaccine concept.

Capucci S, Wee EG, Schiffner T, LaBranche CC, Borthwick N, Cupo A, Dodd J, Dean H, Sattentau Q, Montefiori D et al. 2017. HIV-1-neutralizing antibody induced by simian adenovirus- and poxvirus MVA-vectored BG505 native-like envelope trimers. PLoS One, 12 (8), pp. e0181886. | Show Abstract | Read more

Rabbits and monkeys immunized with HIV type 1 (HIV-1) native-like BG505 SOSIP.664 (BG505s) glycoprotein trimers are known to induce antibodies that can neutralize the autologous tier-2 virus. Here, we assessed the induction of HIV-1 trimer binding and neutralizing antibody (nAb) titres when BG505s trimers were also delivered by non-replicating simian (chimpanzee) adenovirus and non-replicating poxvirus modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) vaccine vectors. First, we showed that approximately two-thirds and one-third of the trimers secreted from the ChAdOx1.BG505s (C) and MVA.BG505s (M) vaccine-infected cells, respectively, were cleaved and in a native-like conformation. Rabbits were immunized intramuscularly with these vaccine vectors and in some cases boosted with ISCOMATRIX™-adjuvanted BG505s protein trimer (P), using CCC, MMM, PPP, CPP, MPP and CMP vaccine regimens. We found that the peak trimer-binding antibody and tier-1A and autologous tier-2 nAb responses induced by the CC, CM, PPP, CPP, MPP and CMP regimens were comparable, although only PPP induced autologous tier-2 nAbs in all the immunized animals. Three animals developed weak heterologous tier-2 nAbs. These results demonstrate that ChAdOx1 and MVA vectors are useful delivery modalities for not only T-cell, but also antibody vaccine development.

Moyo N, Borthwick NJ, Wee EG, Capucci S, Crook A, Dorrell L, Hanke T. 2017. Long-term follow up of human T-cell responses to conserved HIV-1 regions elicited by DNA/simian adenovirus/MVA vaccine regimens. PLoS One, 12 (7), pp. e0181382. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Durability of vaccine-elicited immune responses is one of the key determinants for vaccine success. Our aim is to develop a vaccination strategy against the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), which induces protective and durable CD8+ T-cell responses. The central theorem of our approach is to focus T cells on highly conserved regions of the HIV-1 proteome and this is achieved through the use of the first-generation conserved vaccine immunogen HIVconsv. This immunogen vectored by plasmid DNA, simian adenovirus and poxvirus MVA was tested in healthy, HIV-1-negative adults in UK and induced high magnitudes of HIVconsv-specific plurifunctional CD8+ T cells capable of in vitro HIV-1 inhibition. Here, we assessed the durability of these responses. METHODS: Vaccine recipients in trial HIV-CORE 002 were invited to provide a blood sample at 1 and 2 years after vaccination. Their PBMCs were tested in IFN-γ ELISPOT, 25-analyte Luminex, CFSE proliferation and intracellular cytokine staining assays, the last enhanced by HLA-peptide dextramer analysis. RESULTS: 12/12 (1 year) and 8/8 (2 years) returning subjects had median (range) of 990 (150-2495) and 763 (70-1745) IFN-γ SFU/106 PBMC specific for HIVconsv, respectively, and recognized 5 (1-6) out of 6 peptide pools at 2 years. Over one-half of the HIVconsv-specific cells expressed at least 3 functions IFN-γ, TNF-α and CD107a, and were capable of proliferation. Among dextramer-reactive cells, naïve, transitional, effector and terminally differentiated memory subsets were similarly represented. CONCLUSIONS: First generation HIVconsv vaccine induced human T cells, which were plurifunctional and persisted for at least 2 years. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01151319.

Borthwick N, Lin Z, Akahoshi T, Llano A, Silva-Arrieta S, Ahmed T, Dorrell L, Brander C, Murakoshi H, Takiguchi M, Hanke T. 2017. Novel, in-natural-infection subdominant HIV-1 CD8+ T-cell epitopes revealed in human recipients of conserved-region T-cell vaccines. PLoS One, 12 (4), pp. e0176418. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Fine definition of targeted CD8+ T-cell epitopes and their human leucocyte antigen (HLA) class I restriction informs iterative improvements of HIV-1 T-cell vaccine designs and may predict early vaccine success or failure. Here, lymphocytes from volunteers, who had received candidate HIVconsv vaccines expressing conserved sub-protein regions of HIV-1, were used to define the optimum-length target epitopes and their HLA restriction. In HIV-1-positive patients, CD8+ T-cell responses predominantly recognize immunodominant, but hypervariable and therefore less protective epitopes. The less variable, more protective epitopes in conserved regions are typically subdominant. Therefore, induction of strong responses to conserved regions by vaccination provides an opportunity to discover novel important epitopes. METHODS: Cryopreserved lymphocytes from vaccine recipients were expanded by stimulation with 15-mer responder peptides for 10 days to establish short term-cell-line (STCL) effector cells. These were subjected to intracellular cytokine staining using serially truncated peptides and peptide-pulsed 721.221 cells expressing individual HLA class I alleles to define minimal epitope length and HLA restriction by stimulation of IFN-γ and TNF-α production and surface expression of CD107a. RESULTS: Using lymphocyte samples of 12 vaccine recipients, we defined 14 previously unreported optimal CD8+ T-cell HIV-1 epitopes and their four-digit HLA allele restriction (6 HLA-A, 7 HLA-B and 1 HLA-C alleles). Further 13 novel targets with incomplete information were revealed. CONCLUSIONS: The high rate of discovery of novel CD8+ T-cell effector epitopes warrants further epitope mining in recipients of the conserved-region vaccines in other populations and informs development of HIV-1/AIDS vaccines. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01151319.

Safrit JT, Tomaras GD, Hanke T, deCamp AC, Voronin Y. 2016. The Landscape of Targeted Immune Responses in the HIV-1 Vaccine Field. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses, 32 (10-11), pp. 944-946. | Read more

Jönsson P, Southcombe JH, Santos AM, Huo J, Fernandes RA, McColl J, Lever M, Evans EJ, Hudson A, Chang VT et al. 2016. Remarkably low affinity of CD4/peptide-major histocompatibility complex class II protein interactions. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 113 (20), pp. 5682-5687. | Show Abstract | Read more

The αβ T-cell coreceptor CD4 enhances immune responses more than 1 million-fold in some assays, and yet the affinity of CD4 for its ligand, peptide-major histocompatibility class II (pMHC II) on antigen-presenting cells, is so weak that it was previously unquantifiable. Here, we report that a soluble form of CD4 failed to bind detectably to pMHC II in surface plasmon resonance-based assays, establishing a new upper limit for the solution affinity at 2.5 mM. However, when presented multivalently on magnetic beads, soluble CD4 bound pMHC II-expressing B cells, confirming that it is active and allowing mapping of the native coreceptor binding site on pMHC II. Whereas binding was undetectable in solution, the affinity of the CD4/pMHC II interaction could be measured in 2D using CD4- and adhesion molecule-functionalized, supported lipid bilayers, yielding a 2D Kd of ∼5,000 molecules/μm(2) This value is two to three orders of magnitude higher than previously measured 2D Kd values for interacting leukocyte surface proteins. Calculations indicated, however, that CD4/pMHC II binding would increase rates of T-cell receptor (TCR) complex phosphorylation by threefold via the recruitment of Lck, with only a small, 2-20% increase in the effective affinity of the TCR for pMHC II. The affinity of CD4/pMHC II therefore seems to be set at a value that increases T-cell sensitivity by enhancing phosphorylation, without compromising ligand discrimination.

Ström P, Støer N, Borthwick N, Dong T, Hanke T, Reilly M. 2016. A statistical approach to determining responses to individual peptides from pooled-peptide ELISpot data. J Immunol Methods, 435 pp. 43-49. | Show Abstract | Read more

To investigate in detail the effect of infection or vaccination on the human immune system, ELISpot assays are used to simultaneously test the immune response to a large number of peptides of interest. Scientists commonly use "peptide pools", where, instead of an individual peptide, a test well contains a group of peptides. Since the response from a well may be due to any or many of the peptides in the pool, pooled assays usually need to be followed by confirmatory assays of a number of individual peptides. We present a statistical method that enables estimation of individual peptide responses from pool responses using the Expectation Maximization (EM) algorithm for "incomplete data". We demonstrate the accuracy and precision of these estimates in simulation studies of ELISpot plates with 90 pools of 6 or 7 peptides arranged in three dimensions and three Mock wells for the estimation of background. In analysis of real pooled data from 6 subjects in a HIV-1 vaccine trial, where 199 peptides were arranged in 80 pools if size 9 or 10, our estimates were in very good agreement with the results from individual-peptide confirmatory assays. Compared to the classical approach, we could identify almost all the same peptides with high or moderate response, with less than half the number of confirmatory tests. Our method facilitates efficient use of the information available in pooled ELISpot data to avoid or reduce the need for confirmatory testing. We provide an easy-to-use free online application for implementing the method, where on uploading two spreadsheets with the pool design and pool responses, the user obtains the estimates of the individual peptide responses.

Ondondo B, Murakoshi H, Clutton G, Abdul-Jawad S, Wee EG, Gatanaga H, Oka S, McMichael AJ, Takiguchi M, Korber B, Hanke T. 2016. Novel Conserved-region T-cell Mosaic Vaccine With High Global HIV-1 Coverage Is Recognized by Protective Responses in Untreated Infection. Mol Ther, 24 (4), pp. 832-842. | Show Abstract | Read more

An effective human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) vaccine is the best solution for halting the acquired immune deficiency syndrome epidemic. Here, we describe the design and preclinical immunogenicity of T-cell vaccine expressing novel immunogens tHIVconsvX, vectored by DNA, simian (chimpanzee) adenovirus, and poxvirus modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA), a combination highly immunogenic in humans. The tHIVconsvX immunogens combine the three leading strategies for elicitation of effective CD8(+) T cells: use of regions of HIV-1 proteins functionally conserved across all M group viruses (to make HIV-1 escape costly on viral fitness), inclusion of bivalent complementary mosaic immunogens (to maximize global epitope matching and breadth of responses, and block common escape paths), and inclusion of epitopes known to be associated with low viral load in infected untreated people (to induce field-proven protective responses). tHIVconsvX was highly immunogenic in two strains of mice. Furthermore, the magnitude and breadth of CD8(+) T-cell responses to tHIVconsvX-derived peptides in treatment-naive HIV-1(+) patients significantly correlated with high CD4(+) T-cell count and low viral load. Overall, the tHIVconsvX design, combining the mosaic and conserved-region approaches, provides an indisputably better coverage of global HIV-1 variants than previous T-cell vaccines. These immunogens delivered in a highly immunogenic framework of adenovirus prime and MVA boost are ready for clinical development.

Ahmed T, Borthwick NJ, Gilmour J, Hayes P, Dorrell L, Hanke T. 2016. Control of HIV-1 replication in vitro by vaccine-induced human CD8(+) T cells through conserved subdominant Pol epitopes. Vaccine, 34 (9), pp. 1215-1224. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVE: The specificity of CD8(+) T cells is critical for early control of founder/transmitted and reactivated HIV-1. To tackle HIV-1 variability and escape, we designed vaccine immunogen HIVconsv assembled from 14 highly conserved regions of mainly Gag and Pol proteins. When administered to HIV-1-negative human volunteers in trial HIV-CORE 002, HIVconsv vaccines elicited CD8(+) effector T cells which inhibited replication of up to 8 HIV-1 isolates in autologous CD4(+) cells. This inhibition correlated with interferon-γ production in response to Gag and Pol peptide pools, but direct evidence of the inhibitory specificity was missing. Here, we aimed to define through recognition of which epitopes these effectors inhibit HIV-1 replication. DESIGN: CD8(+) T-cells from the 3 broadest HIV-1 inhibitors out of 23 vaccine recipients were expanded in culture by Gag or Pol peptide restimulation and tested in viral inhibition assay (VIA) using HIV-1 clade B and A isolates. METHODS: Frozen PBMCs were expanded first using peptide pools from Gag or Pol conserved regions and tested on HIV-1-infected cells in VIA or by individual peptides for their effector functions. Single peptide specificities responsible for inhibition of HIV-1 replication were then confirmed by single-peptide expanded effectors tested on HIV-1-infected cells. RESULTS: We formally demonstrated that the vaccine-elicited inhibitory human CD8(+) T cells recognized conserved epitopes of both Pol and Gag proteins. We defined 7 minimum epitopes, of which 3 were novel, presumably naturally subdominant. The effectors were oligofunctional producing several cytokines and chemokines and killing peptide-pulsed target cells. CONCLUSIONS: These results implicate the use of functionally conserved regions of Pol in addition to the widely used Gag for T-cell vaccine design. Proportion of volunteers developing these effectors and their frequency in circulating PBMC are separate issues, which can be addressed, if needed, by more efficient vector and regimen delivery of conserved immunogens.

Mutua G, Farah B, Langat R, Indangasi J, Ogola S, Onsembe B, Kopycinski JT, Hayes P, Borthwick NJ, Ashraf A et al. 2016. Broad HIV-1 inhibition in vitro by vaccine-elicited CD8(+) T cells in African adults. Mol Ther Methods Clin Dev, 3 pp. 16061. | Show Abstract | Read more

We are developing a pan-clade HIV-1 T-cell vaccine HIVconsv, which could complement Env vaccines for prophylaxis and be a key to HIV cure. Our strategy focuses vaccine-elicited effector T-cells on functionally and structurally conserved regions (not full-length proteins and not only epitopes) of the HIV-1 proteome, which are common to most global variants and which, if mutated, cause a replicative fitness loss. Our first clinical trial in low risk HIV-1-negative adults in Oxford demonstrated the principle that naturally mostly subdominant epitopes, when taken out of the context of full-length proteins/virus and delivered by potent regimens involving combinations of simian adenovirus and poxvirus modified vaccinia virus Ankara, can induce robust CD8(+) T cells of broad specificities and functions capable of inhibiting in vitro HIV-1 replication. Here and for the first time, we tested this strategy in low risk HIV-1-negative adults in Africa. We showed that the vaccines were well tolerated and induced high frequencies of broadly HIVconsv-specific plurifunctional T cells, which inhibited in vitro viruses from four major clades A, B, C, and D. Because sub-Saharan Africa is globally the region most affected by HIV-1/AIDS, trial HIV-CORE 004 represents an important stage in the path toward efficacy evaluation of this highly rational and promising vaccine strategy.

Abdul-Jawad S, Ondondo B, van Hateren A, Gardner A, Elliott T, Korber B, Hanke T. 2016. Increased Valency of Conserved-mosaic Vaccines Enhances the Breadth and Depth of Epitope Recognition. Mol Ther, 24 (2), pp. 375-384. | Show Abstract | Read more

The biggest roadblock in development of effective vaccines against human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) is the virus genetic diversity. For T-cell vaccine, this can be tackled by focusing the vaccine-elicited T-cells on the highly functionally conserved regions of HIV-1 proteins, mutations in which typically cause a replicative fitness loss, and by computing multivalent mosaic proteins, which maximize the coverage of potential 9-mer T-cell epitopes of the input viral sequences. Our first conserved region vaccines HIVconsv employed clade alternating consensus sequences and showed promise in the initial clinical trials in terms of magnitude and breadth of elicited CD8(+) T-cells. Here, monitoring T-cells restricted by HLA-A*02:01 in transgenic mice, we assessed whether or not the tHIVconsv design (HIVconsv with a tissue plasminogen activator leader sequence) benefits from combining with a complementing conserved mosaic immunogen tHIVcmo, and compared the bivalent immunization to that with trivalent conserved mosaic vaccines. A hierarchy of tHIVconsv ≤ tHIVconsv+tHIVcmo < tCmo1+tCmo2+tCmo3 vaccinations for induction of CD8(+) T-cell responses was observed in terms of recognition of tested peptide variants. Thus, our HLA-A*02:01-restricted epitope data concur with previously published mouse and macaque observations and suggest that even conserved region vaccines benefit from oligovalent mosaic design.

Ternette N, Yang H, Partridge T, Llano A, Cedeño S, Fischer R, Charles PD, Dudek NL, Mothe B, Crespo M et al. 2016. Defining the HLA class I-associated viral antigen repertoire from HIV-1-infected human cells. Eur J Immunol, 46 (1), pp. 60-69. | Show Abstract | Read more

Recognition and eradication of infected cells by cytotoxic T lymphocytes is a key defense mechanism against intracellular pathogens. High-throughput definition of HLA class I-associated immunopeptidomes by mass spectrometry is an increasingly important analytical tool to advance our understanding of the induction of T-cell responses against pathogens such as HIV-1. We utilized a liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry workflow including de novo-assisted database searching to define the HLA class I-associated immunopeptidome of HIV-1-infected human cells. We here report for the first time the identification of 75 HIV-1-derived peptides bound to HLA class I complexes that were purified directly from HIV-1-infected human primary CD4(+) T cells and the C8166 human T-cell line. Importantly, one-third of eluted HIV-1 peptides had not been previously known to be presented by HLA class I. Over 82% of the identified sequences originated from viral protein regions for which T-cell responses have previously been reported but for which the precise HLA class I-binding sequences have not yet been defined. These results validate and expand the current knowledge of virus-specific antigenic peptide presentation during HIV-1 infection and provide novel targets for T-cell vaccine development.

Borthwick NJ, Rosario M, Schiffner T, Bowles E, Ahmed T, Liljeström P, Stewart-Jones GE, Drijfhout JW, Melief CJ, Hanke T. 2015. Humoral responses to HIVconsv induced by heterologous vaccine modalities in rhesus macaques. Immun Inflamm Dis, 3 (2), pp. 82-93. | Show Abstract | Read more

Vaccines delivering T cell immunogen HIVconsv vectored by plasmid DNA, non-replicating simian adenovirus and non-replicating modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) are under clinical evaluation in phase I/IIa trials in UK, Europe, and Africa. While these vaccines aim to induce effector T cell responses specific for HIV-1, we here characterized the humoral responses induced by HIVconsv administration to macaques using six different vaccine modalities: plasmid DNA, human adenovirus serotype 5, simian adenovirus serotype 63, MVA, Semliki Forest virus replicons, and adjuvanted overlapping synthetic long peptides (SLP). We found that only the SLP formulation, but none of the genetic vaccine platforms induced antibodies recognizing linear HIVconsv epitopes, median 32/46 SLP.HIVconsv peptides. These antibodies bound to 15-mer and SLP peptides, recombinant gp120 and trimeric gp140 of HIV-1 Bal, YU2, JRFL, and UG037, but failed to react with HIV-1 Bal and IIIB virions and HIV-1 Bal- and IIIB-infected human cells, and consequently failed to induce neutralizing antibodies. The HIVconsv immunogen contains conserved regions derived from Gag, Pol, Vif, and Env proteins of HIV-1, and antibodies induced by the SLP.HIVconsv vaccination resulted in positive signals in routine HIV-1 tests. Thus, only HIVconsv delivered by SLP resulted in seroconversion, an observation that provides important guidance for recruiting volunteers into future clinical trials. Furthermore, our data confirms that vaccine delivery by SLP induces humoral as well as cellular immune responses and could be considered for inclusion in future vaccine regimens where this is required.

Ternette N, Block PD, Sánchez-Bernabéu Á, Borthwick N, Pappalardo E, Abdul-Jawad S, Ondondo B, Charles PD, Dorrell L, Kessler BM, Hanke T. 2015. Early Kinetics of the HLA Class I-Associated Peptidome of MVA.HIVconsv-Infected Cells. J Virol, 89 (11), pp. 5760-5771. | Show Abstract | Read more

UNLABELLED: Cytotoxic T cells substantially contribute to the control of intracellular pathogens such as human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). Here, we evaluated the immunopeptidome of Jurkat cells infected with the vaccine candidate MVA.HIVconsv, which delivers HIV-1 conserved antigenic regions by using modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA). We employed liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) to identify 6,358 unique peptides associated with the class I human leukocyte antigen (HLA), of which 98 peptides were derived from the MVA vector and 7 were derived from the HIVconsv immunogen. Human vaccine recipients responded to the peptide sequences identified by LC-MS/MS. Peptides derived from the conserved HIV-1 regions were readily detected as early as 1.5 h after MVA.HIVconsv infection. Four of the seven conserved peptides were monitored between 0 and 3.5 h of infection by using quantitative mass spectrometry (Q-MS), and their abundance in HLA class I associations reflected levels of the whole HIVconsv protein in the cell. While immunopeptides delivered by the incoming MVA vector proteins could be detected, all early HIVconsv-derived immunopeptides were likely synthesized de novo. MVA.HIVconsv infection generally altered the composition of HLA class I-associated human (self) peptides, but these changes corresponded only partially to changes in the whole cell host protein abundance. IMPORTANCE: The vast changes in cellular antigen presentation after infection of cells with a vectored vaccine, as shown here for MVA.HIVconsv, highlight the complexity of factors that need to be considered for efficient antigen delivery and presentation. Identification and quantitation of HLA class I-associated peptides by Q-MS will not only find broad application in T-cell epitope discovery but also inform vaccine design and allow evaluation of efficient epitope presentation using different delivery strategies.

Clutton G, Bridgeman A, Reyes-Sandoval A, Hanke T, Dorrell L. 2015. Transient IL-10 receptor blockade can enhance CD8(+) T cell responses to a simian adenovirus-vectored HIV-1 conserved region immunogen. Hum Vaccin Immunother, 11 (4), pp. 1030-1035. | Show Abstract | Read more

Viral vector vaccines designed to elicit CD8(+) T cells in non-human primates exert potent control of immunodeficiency virus infections; however, similar approaches have been unsuccessful in humans. Adenoviral vectors elicit potent T cell responses but also induce production of immunosuppressive interleukin-10 (IL-10), which can limit the expansion of T cell responses. We investigated whether inhibiting IL-10 signaling prior to immunization with a candidate adenovirus vectored-HIV-1 vaccine, ChAdV63.HIVconsv, could modulate innate and adaptive immune responses in BALB/c mice. Transient IL-10 receptor blockade led to a modest but significant increase in the total magnitude CD8(+) T cell response to HIVconsv, but did not affect T cell responses to immunodominant epitopes. Anti-IL-10R-treated animals also exhibited greater expression of CD86 on CD11c(+) dendritic cells. Our data support further investigation and optimization of IL-10 blocking strategies to improve the immunogenicity of vaccines based on replication-defective adenoviruses.

Hancock G, Yang H, Yorke E, Wainwright E, Bourne V, Frisbee A, Payne TL, Berrong M, Ferrari G, Chopera D et al. 2015. Identification of effective subdominant anti-HIV-1 CD8+ T cells within entire post-infection and post-vaccination immune responses. PLoS Pathog, 11 (2), pp. e1004658. | Show Abstract | Read more

Defining the components of an HIV immunogen that could induce effective CD8+ T cell responses is critical to vaccine development. We addressed this question by investigating the viral targets of CD8+ T cells that potently inhibit HIV replication in vitro, as this is highly predictive of virus control in vivo. We observed broad and potent ex vivo CD8+ T cell-mediated viral inhibitory activity against a panel of HIV isolates among viremic controllers (VC, viral loads <5000 copies/ml), in contrast to unselected HIV-infected HIV Vaccine trials Network (HVTN) participants. Viral inhibition of clade-matched HIV isolates was strongly correlated with the frequency of CD8+ T cells targeting vulnerable regions within Gag, Pol, Nef and Vif that had been identified in an independent study of nearly 1000 chronically infected individuals. These vulnerable and so-called "beneficial" regions were of low entropy overall, yet several were not predicted by stringent conservation algorithms. Consistent with this, stronger inhibition of clade-matched than mismatched viruses was observed in the majority of subjects, indicating better targeting of clade-specific than conserved epitopes. The magnitude of CD8+ T cell responses to beneficial regions, together with viral entropy and HLA class I genotype, explained up to 59% of the variation in viral inhibitory activity, with magnitude of the T cell response making the strongest unique contribution. However, beneficial regions were infrequently targeted by CD8+ T cells elicited by vaccines encoding full-length HIV proteins, when the latter were administered to healthy volunteers and HIV-positive ART-treated subjects, suggesting that immunodominance hierarchies undermine effective anti-HIV CD8+ T cell responses. Taken together, our data support HIV immunogen design that is based on systematic selection of empirically defined vulnerable regions within the viral proteome, with exclusion of immunodominant decoy epitopes that are irrelevant for HIV control.

Mothe B, Hu X, Llano A, Rosati M, Olvera A, Kulkarni V, Valentin A, Alicea C, Pilkington GR, Sardesai NY et al. 2015. A human immune data-informed vaccine concept elicits strong and broad T-cell specificities associated with HIV-1 control in mice and macaques. J Transl Med, 13 (1), pp. 60. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: None of the HIV T-cell vaccine candidates that have reached advanced clinical testing have been able to induce protective T cell immunity. A major reason for these failures may have been suboptimal T cell immunogen designs. METHODS: To overcome this problem, we used a novel immunogen design approach that is based on functional T cell response data from more than 1,000 HIV-1 clade B and C infected individuals and which aims to direct the T cell response to the most vulnerable sites of HIV-1. RESULTS: Our approach identified 16 regions in Gag, Pol, Vif and Nef that were relatively conserved and predominantly targeted by individuals with reduced viral loads. These regions formed the basis of the HIVACAT T-cell Immunogen (HTI) sequence which is 529 amino acids in length, includes more than 50 optimally defined CD4(+) and CD8(+) T-cell epitopes restricted by a wide range of HLA class I and II molecules and covers viral sites where mutations led to a dramatic reduction in viral replicative fitness. In both, C57BL/6 mice and Indian rhesus macaques immunized with an HTI-expressing DNA plasmid (DNA.HTI) induced broad and balanced T-cell responses to several segments within Gag, Pol, and Vif. DNA.HTI induced robust CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cell responses that were increased by a booster vaccination using modified virus Ankara (MVA.HTI), expanding the DNA.HTI induced response to up to 3.2% IFN-γ T-cells in macaques. HTI-specific T cells showed a central and effector memory phenotype with a significant fraction of the IFN-γ(+) CD8(+) T cells being Granzyme B(+) and able to degranulate (CD107a(+)). CONCLUSIONS: These data demonstrate the immunogenicity of a novel HIV-1 T cell vaccine concept that induced broadly balanced responses to vulnerable sites of HIV-1 while avoiding the induction of responses to potential decoy targets that may divert effective T-cell responses towards variable and less protective viral determinants.

Bowles EJ, Schiffner T, Rosario M, Needham GA, Ramaswamy M, McGouran J, Kessler B, LaBranche C, McMichael AJ, Montefiori D et al. 2014. Comparison of neutralizing antibody responses elicited from highly diverse polyvalent heterotrimeric HIV-1 gp140 cocktail immunogens versus a monovalent counterpart in rhesus macaques. PLoS One, 9 (12), pp. e114709. | Show Abstract | Read more

Eliciting neutralizing antibodies capable of inactivating a broad spectrum of HIV-1 strains is a major goal of HIV-1 vaccine design. The challenge is that envelopes (Envs) of circulating viruses are almost certainly different from any Env used in a vaccine. A novel immunogen composed of a highly diverse set of gp140 Envs including subtypes A, B, C, D and F was developed to stimulate a more cross-neutralizing antibody response. Env heterotrimers composed of up to 54 different gp140s were produced with the aim of focusing the response to the conserved regions of Env while reducing the dominance of any individual hypervariable region. Heterotrimeric gp140 Envs of inter- and intra-subtype combinations were shown to bind CD4 and a panel of neutralizing monoclonal antibodies with similar affinity to monovalent UG37 gp140. Macaques immunized with six groups of heterotrimer mixtures showed slightly more potent neutralizing antibody responses in TZM-BL tier 1 and A3R5 tier 2 pseudovirus assays than macaques immunized with monovalent Env gp140, and exhibited a marginally greater focus on the CD4-binding site. Carbopol enhanced neutralization when used as an adjuvant instead of RIBI in combination with UG37 gp140. These data indicate that cross-subtype heterotrimeric gp140 Envs may elicit some improvement of the neutralizing antibody response in macaques compared to monovalent gp140 Env.

Ondondo B, Clutton G, McMichael A, Korber B, Hanke T. 2014. The 2nd generation of a T-cell vaccine against HIV based on conserved region mosaics IMMUNOLOGY, 143 pp. 146-146.

Njuguna IN, Ambler G, Reilly M, Ondondo B, Kanyugo M, Lohman-Payne B, Gichuhi C, Borthwick N, Black A, Mehedi SR et al. 2014. PedVacc 002: A phase I/II randomized clinical trial of MVA.HIVA vaccine administered to infants born to human immunodeficiency virus type 1-positive mothers in Nairobi Vaccine, 32 (44), pp. 5801-5808. | Show Abstract | Read more

© 2014 The Authors. A safe, effective vaccine for breastfeeding infants born to HIV-1-positive mothers could complement antiretroviral therapy (ART) for prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV-1. To date, only a few HIV-1 vaccine candidates have been tested in infants. Trial design: A phase I/II randomized controlled trial PedVacc 002 was conducted to determine the safety and immunogenicity of a single, low dose of MVA.HIVA vaccine delivered intramuscularly to healthy 20-week-old infants born to HIV-1-positive mothers in Nairobi, Kenya. Methods: Pregnant HIV-1-positive women in the 2nd/3rd trimester of gestation were enrolled, provided with ART and self-selected their infant-feeding modality. Infants received nevirapine and cotrimoxazole prophylaxis. At 20 weeks of age, eligible HIV-1-negative infants were randomized to vaccine versus no-treatment arms and followed to 48 weeks of age for assessments of vaccine safety, HIV-1-specific T-cell responses and antibodies to routine childhood vaccines. Results: Between February and November 2010, 182 mothers were screened, 104 were eligible and followed on ART during pregnancy/postpartum, of whom 73 had eligible infants at 20 weeks postpartum. Thirty-six infants were randomized to vaccine and 37 to no treatment. Eighty-four percent of infants breastfed, and retention at 48 weeks was 99%. Adverse events were rare and similar between the two arms. HIV-1-specific T-cell frequencies in interferon-γ ELISPOT assay were transiently higher in the MVA.HIVA arm (. p=. 0.002), but not above the threshold for a positive assay. Protective antibody levels were adequate and similar between arms for all routine childhood vaccines except HBV, where 71% of MVA.HIVA subjects compared to 92% of control subjects were protected (. p=. 0.05). Conclusions: This trial tested for the first time an MVA-vectored candidate HIV-1 vaccine in HIV-1-exposed infants in Africa, demonstrating trial feasibility and vaccine safety, low immunogenicity, and compatibility with routine childhood vaccinations. These results are reassuring for use of the MVA vector in more potent prime-boost regimens.

Borthwick NJ, Ahmed T, Dorrell L, Van Hateren A, Elliot T, Hanke T. 2014. Phase I Clinical Trial HIV-CORE002 of a Universal T-cell Vaccine: Mapping of CD8+ T Cell Epitopes. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses, 30 Suppl 1 (S1), pp. A187. | Read more

Clutton G, Carpov A, Parks CL, Dean HJ, Montefiori DC, Hanke T. 2014. Optimizing parallel induction of HIV type 1-specific antibody and T-cell responses by multicomponent subunit vaccines. AIDS, 28 (17), pp. 2495-2504. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVES: Protection against HIV type 1 (HIV-1) infection/AIDS will likely require concerted actions of protective CD8(+) killer T cells and protective antibodies. The challenges in inducing such effectors by active immunization are such that the T-cell and antibody vaccine components require separate development. Here, a rational attempt is taken to combine two separately optimized heterologous regimens into a single T-cell-inducing and antibody-inducing vaccination schedule with minimal induction of unprotective Env-specific T cells. DESIGN: Clade A BG505 Env-derived uncleaved gp140 (BG505u) and conserved region tHIVc immunogens were utilized and presented to the immune system using non-replicating simian (chimpanzee) adenovirus ChAdV-63 (C) and poxvirus-modified vaccinia virus Ankara MVA (M). In addition, purified BG505 gp120 (P) was used for antibody induction. METHODS: BALB/c mice were vaccinated to elicit Env antibodies alone using ChAdV63.BG505u. MVA.BG505u and BG505 gp120 in regimens CMP, CPP and PPP, and in combination with the ChAdV63.tHIVc and MVA.tHIVc components in regimens CMP+CMM, CPP+CMM and PPP+CMM. Antibody and T-cell responses to BG505 Env and conserved regions of the HIV-1 proteome were determined. RESULTS: Although all three regimens delivering BG505 Env induced similar levels of antibodies, BG505-specific T cells were induced in the CMP>CPP>PPP hierarchy, which was maintained during coinduction of tHIVc-specific T cells. Adjuvanted BG505 PPP decreased induction of tHIVc-specific T cells and tHIVc T-cell induction decreased induction of BG505 Ab. As expected, the antibodies that were induced neutralized tier 1 HIV-1 strains. CONCLUSION: These results inform designs of initial human studies combining separately optimized T-cell and B-cell HIV-1 vaccines into a single regimen.

Ondondo B, Abdul-Jawad S, Bridgeman A, Hanke T. 2014. Characterization of T-cell responses to conserved regions of the HIV-1 proteome in BALB/c mice. Clin Vaccine Immunol, 21 (11), pp. 1565-1572. | Show Abstract | Read more

A likely requirement for a protective vaccine against human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)/AIDS is, in addition to eliciting antibody responses, induction of effective T cells. To tackle HIV-1 diversity by T-cell vaccines, we designed an immunogen, HIVconsv, derived from the most functionally conserved regions of the HIV-1 proteome and demonstrated its high immunogenicity in humans and rhesus macaques when delivered by regimens combining plasmid DNA, nonreplicating simian (chimpanzee) adenovirus ChAdV-63, and nonreplicating modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) as vectors. Here, we aimed to increase the decision power for iterative improvements of this vaccine strategy in the BALB/c mouse model. First, we found that prolonging the period after the ChAdV63.HIVconsv prime up to 6 weeks increased the frequencies of HIV-1-specific, gamma interferon (IFN-γ)-producing T cells induced by the MVA.HIVconsv boost. Induction of strong responses allowed us to map comprehensively the H-2(d)-restricted T-cell responses to these regions and identified 8 HIVconsv peptides, of which three did not contain a previously described epitope and were therefore considered novel. Induced effector T cells were oligofunctional and lysed sensitized targets in vitro. Our study therefore provides additional tools for studying and optimizing vaccine regimens in this commonly used small animal model, which will in turn guide vaccine improvements in more expensive nonhuman primate and human clinical trials.

Njuguna IN, Ambler G, Reilly M, Ondondo B, Kanyugo M, Lohman-Payne B, Gichuhi C, Borthwick N, Black A, Mehedi SR et al. 2014. PedVacc 002: a phase I/II randomized clinical trial of MVA.HIVA vaccine administered to infants born to human immunodeficiency virus type 1-positive mothers in Nairobi. Vaccine, 32 (44), pp. 5801-5808. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: A safe, effective vaccine for breastfeeding infants born to HIV-1-positive mothers could complement antiretroviral therapy (ART) for prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV-1. To date, only a few HIV-1 vaccine candidates have been tested in infants. TRIAL DESIGN: A phase I/II randomized controlled trial PedVacc 002 was conducted to determine the safety and immunogenicity of a single, low dose of MVA.HIVA vaccine delivered intramuscularly to healthy 20-week-old infants born to HIV-1-positive mothers in Nairobi, Kenya. METHODS: Pregnant HIV-1-positive women in the 2nd/3rd trimester of gestation were enrolled, provided with ART and self-selected their infant-feeding modality. Infants received nevirapine and cotrimoxazole prophylaxis. At 20 weeks of age, eligible HIV-1-negative infants were randomized to vaccine versus no-treatment arms and followed to 48 weeks of age for assessments of vaccine safety, HIV-1-specific T-cell responses and antibodies to routine childhood vaccines. RESULTS: Between February and November 2010, 182 mothers were screened, 104 were eligible and followed on ART during pregnancy/postpartum, of whom 73 had eligible infants at 20 weeks postpartum. Thirty-six infants were randomized to vaccine and 37 to no treatment. Eighty-four percent of infants breastfed, and retention at 48 weeks was 99%. Adverse events were rare and similar between the two arms. HIV-1-specific T-cell frequencies in interferon-γ ELISPOT assay were transiently higher in the MVA.HIVA arm (p=0.002), but not above the threshold for a positive assay. Protective antibody levels were adequate and similar between arms for all routine childhood vaccines except HBV, where 71% of MVA.HIVA subjects compared to 92% of control subjects were protected (p=0.05). CONCLUSIONS: This trial tested for the first time an MVA-vectored candidate HIV-1 vaccine in HIV-1-exposed infants in Africa, demonstrating trial feasibility and vaccine safety, low immunogenicity, and compatibility with routine childhood vaccinations. These results are reassuring for use of the MVA vector in more potent prime-boost regimens.

Hanke T. 2014. Conserved immunogens in prime-boost strategies for the next-generation HIV-1 vaccines. Expert Opin Biol Ther, 14 (5), pp. 601-616. | Show Abstract | Read more

INTRODUCTION: Effective vaccines are the best solution for stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases. Their development and in-depth understanding of pathogen-host interactions rely on technological advances. AREAS COVERED: Rational vaccine development can be effectively approached by conceptual separation of, on one hand, design of immunogens from improving their presentation to the immune system and, on the other, induction of antibodies from induction of killer CD8(+) T cells. The biggest roadblock for many vaccines is the pathogens' variability. This is best tackled by focusing both antibodies and T cells on the functionally most conserved regions of proteins common to many variants, including escape mutants. For vectored vaccines, these 'universal' subunit immunogens are most efficiently delivered using heterologous prime-boost regimens, which can be further optimised by adjuvantation and route of delivery. EXPERT OPINION: Development of vaccines against human diseases has many features in common. Acceleration of vaccine discovery depends on basic research and new technologies. Novel strategies should be safely, but rapidly tested in humans. While out-of-the-box thinking is important, vaccine success largely depends on incremental advances best achieved through small, systematic, iterative clinical studies. Failures are inevitable, but the end rewards are huge. The future will be exciting.

Cited:

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Borthwick N, Ahmed T, Ondondo B, Hayes P, Rose A, Ebrahimsa U, Hayton EJ, Black A, Bridgeman A, Rosario M et al. 2014. Vaccine-elicited human T cells recognizing conserved protein regions inhibit HIV-1 Molecular Therapy, 22 (2), pp. 464-475. | Show Abstract | Read more

Virus diversity and escape from immune responses are the biggest challenges to the development of an effective vaccine against HIV-1. We hypothesized that T-cell vaccines targeting the most conserved regions of the HIV-1 proteome, which are common to most variants and bear fitness costs when mutated, will generate effectors that efficiently recognize and kill virus-infected cells early enough after transmission to potentially impact on HIV-1 replication and will do so more efficiently than whole protein-based T-cell vaccines. Here, we describe the first-ever administration of conserved immunogen vaccines vectored using prime-boost regimens of DNA, simian adenovirus and modified vaccinia virus Ankara to uninfected UK volunteers. The vaccine induced high levels of effector T cells that recognized virus-infected autologous CD4 + cells and inhibited HIV-1 replication by up to 5.79 log 10. The virus inhibition was mediated by both Gag- and Pol- specific effector CD8 + T cells targeting epitopes that are typically subdominant in natural infection. These results provide proof of concept for using a vaccine to target T cells at conserved epitopes, showing that these T cells can control HIV-1 replication in vitro. © The American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy.

Saubi N, Gea-Mallorquí E, Ferrer P, Hurtado C, Sánchez-Úbeda S, Eto Y, Gatell JM, Hanke T, Joseph J. 2014. Engineering new mycobacterial vaccine design for HIV-TB pediatric vaccine vectored by lysine auxotroph of BCG. Mol Ther Methods Clin Dev, 1 pp. 14017. | Show Abstract | Read more

In this study, we have engineered a new mycobacterial vaccine design by using an antibiotic-free plasmid selection system. We assembled a novel Escherichia coli (E. coli)-mycobacterial shuttle plasmid p2auxo.HIVA, expressing the HIV-1 clade A immunogen HIVA. This shuttle vector employs an antibiotic resistance-free mechanism for plasmid selection and maintenance based on glycine complementation in E. coli and lysine complementation in mycobacteria. This plasmid was first transformed into glycine auxotroph of E. coli strain and subsequently transformed into lysine auxotroph of Mycobacterium bovis BCG strain to generate vaccine BCG.HIVA(2auxo). We demonstrated that the episomal plasmid p2auxo.HIVA was stable in vivo over a 7-week period and genetically and phenotypically characterized the BCG.HIVA(2auxo) vaccine strain. The BCG.HIVA(2auxo) vaccine in combination with modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA). HIVA was safe and induced HIV-1 and Mycobacterium tuberculosis-specific interferon-γ-producing T-cell responses in adult BALB/c mice. Polyfunctional HIV-1-specific CD8+ T cells, which produce interferon-γ and tumor necrosis factor-α and express the degranulation marker CD107a, were induced. Thus, we engineered a novel, safer, good laboratory practice-compatible BCG-vectored vaccine using prototype immunogen HIVA. This antibiotic-free plasmid selection system based on "double" auxotrophic complementation might be a new mycobacterial vaccine platform to develop not only recombinant BCG-based vaccines expressing second generation of HIV-1 immunogens but also other major pediatric pathogens to prime protective response soon after birth.

Clutton G, Carpov A, Parks CL, Dean HJ, Montefiori DC, Hanke T. 2014. Optimizing parallel induction of HIV type 1-specific antibody and T-cell responses by multicomponent subunit vaccines AIDS, 28 (17), pp. 2495-2504. | Show Abstract | Read more

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Objectives: Protection against HIV type 1 (HIV-1) infection/AIDS will likely require concerted actions of protective CD8 + killer T cells and protective antibodies. The challenges in inducing such effectors by active immunization are such that the T-cell and antibody vaccine components require separate development. Here, a rational attempt is taken to combine two separately optimized heterologous regimens into a single T-cell-inducing and antibody-inducing vaccination schedule with minimal induction of unprotective Env-specific T cells.

Naarding MA, Fernandez N, Kappes JC, Hayes P, Ahmed T, Icyuz M, Edmonds TG, Bergin P, Anzala O, Hanke T et al. 2014. Development of a luciferase based viral inhibition assay to evaluate vaccine induced CD8 T-cell responses Journal of Immunological Methods, 409 pp. 161-173. | Show Abstract | Read more

Emergence of SIV and HIV specific CD8 T cells has been shown to correlate with control of in vivo replication. Poor correlation between IFN-γ ELISPOT responses and in vivo control of the virus has triggered the development of more relevant assays to assess functional HIV-1 specific CD8 T-cell responses for the evaluation and prioritization of new HIV-1 vaccine candidates. We previously established a viral inhibition assay (VIA) that measures the ability of vaccine-induced CD8 T-cell responses to inhibit viral replication in autologous CD4 T cells. In this assay, viral replication is determined by measuring p24 in the culture supernatant. Here we describe the development of a novel VIA, referred to as IMC LucR VIA that exploits replication-competent HIV-1 infectious molecular clones (IMCs) in which the complete proviral genome is strain-specific and which express the Renilla luciferase (LucR) gene to determine viral growth and inhibition. The introduction of the luciferase readout does provide significant improvement of the read out time. In addition to switching to the LucR read out, changes made to the overall protocol resulted in the miniaturization of the assay from a 48 to a 96-well plate format, which preserved sample and allowed for the introduction of replicates. The overall assay time was reduced from 13 to 8. days. The assay has a high degree of specificity, and the previously observed non-specific background inhibition in cells from HIV-1 negative volunteers has been reduced dramatically. Importantly, we observed an increase in positive responses, indicating an improvement in sensitivity compared to the original VIA. Currently, only a limited number of "whole-genome" IMC-LucR viruses are available and our efforts will focus on expanding the panel to better evaluate anti-viral breadth. Overall, we believe the IMC LucR VIA provides a platform to assess functional CD8 T-cell responses in large-scale clinical trial testing, which will enhance the ability to select the most promising HIV-1 vaccine candidates capable of controlling HIV-1 replication in vivo. © 2013 The Authors.

Hayton EJ, Rose A, Ibrahimsa U, Del Sorbo M, Capone S, Crook A, Black AP, Dorrell L, Hanke T. 2014. Safety and tolerability of conserved region vaccines vectored by plasmid DNA, simian adenovirus and modified vaccinia virus ankara administered to human immunodeficiency virus type 1-uninfected adults in a randomized, single-blind phase I trial. PLoS One, 9 (7), pp. e101591. | Show Abstract | Read more

TRIAL DESIGN: HIV-1 vaccine development has advanced slowly due to viral antigenic diversity, poor immunogenicity and recently, safety concerns associated with human adenovirus serotype-5 vectors. To tackle HIV-1 variation, we designed a unique T-cell immunogen HIVconsv from functionally conserved regions of the HIV-1 proteome, which were presented to the immune system using a heterologous prime-boost combination of plasmid DNA, a non-replicating simian (chimpanzee) adenovirus ChAdV-63 and a non-replicating poxvirus, modified vaccinia virus Ankara. A block-randomized, single-blind, placebo-controlled phase I trial HIV-CORE 002 administered for the first time candidate HIV-1- vaccines or placebo to 32 healthy HIV-1/2-uninfected adults in Oxford, UK and elicited high frequencies of HIV-1-specific T cells capable of inhibiting HIV-1 replication in vitro. Here, detail safety and tolerability of these vaccines are reported. METHODS: Local and systemic reactogenicity data were collected using structured interviews and study-specific diary cards. Data on all other adverse events were collected using open questions. Serum neutralizing antibody titres to ChAdV-63 were determined before and after vaccination. RESULTS: Two volunteers withdrew for vaccine-unrelated reasons. No vaccine-related serious adverse events or reactions occurred during 190 person-months of follow-up. Local and systemic events after vaccination occurred in 27/32 individuals and most were mild (severity grade 1) and predominantly transient (<48 hours). Myalgia and flu-like symptoms were more strongly associated with MVA than ChAdV63 or DNA vectors and more common in vaccine recipients than in placebo. There were no intercurrent HIV-1 infections during follow-up. 2/24 volunteers had low ChAdV-63-neutralizing titres at baseline and 7 increased their titres to over 200 with a median (range) of 633 (231-1533) post-vaccination, which is of no safety concern. CONCLUSIONS: These data demonstrate safety and good tolerability of the pSG2.HIVconsv DNA, ChAdV63.HIVconsv and MVA.HIVconsv vaccines and together with their high immunogenicity support their further development towards efficacy studies. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01151319.

Naarding MA, Fernandez N, Kappes JC, Hayes P, Ahmed T, Icyuz M, Edmonds TG, Bergin P, Anzala O, Hanke T et al. 2014. Development of a luciferase based viral inhibition assay to evaluate vaccine induced CD8 T-cell responses. J Immunol Methods, 409 pp. 161-173. | Show Abstract | Read more

Emergence of SIV and HIV specific CD8 T cells has been shown to correlate with control of in vivo replication. Poor correlation between IFN-γ ELISPOT responses and in vivo control of the virus has triggered the development of more relevant assays to assess functional HIV-1 specific CD8 T-cell responses for the evaluation and prioritization of new HIV-1 vaccine candidates. We previously established a viral inhibition assay (VIA) that measures the ability of vaccine-induced CD8 T-cell responses to inhibit viral replication in autologous CD4 T cells. In this assay, viral replication is determined by measuring p24 in the culture supernatant. Here we describe the development of a novel VIA, referred to as IMC LucR VIA that exploits replication-competent HIV-1 infectious molecular clones (IMCs) in which the complete proviral genome is strain-specific and which express the Renilla luciferase (LucR) gene to determine viral growth and inhibition. The introduction of the luciferase readout does provide significant improvement of the read out time. In addition to switching to the LucR read out, changes made to the overall protocol resulted in the miniaturization of the assay from a 48 to a 96-well plate format, which preserved sample and allowed for the introduction of replicates. The overall assay time was reduced from 13 to 8 days. The assay has a high degree of specificity, and the previously observed non-specific background inhibition in cells from HIV-1 negative volunteers has been reduced dramatically. Importantly, we observed an increase in positive responses, indicating an improvement in sensitivity compared to the original VIA. Currently, only a limited number of "whole-genome" IMC-LucR viruses are available and our efforts will focus on expanding the panel to better evaluate anti-viral breadth. Overall, we believe the IMC LucR VIA provides a platform to assess functional CD8 T-cell responses in large-scale clinical trial testing, which will enhance the ability to select the most promising HIV-1 vaccine candidates capable of controlling HIV-1 replication in vivo.

Ondondo B, Brennan C, Nicosia A, Crome SJ, Hanke T. 2013. Absence of systemic toxicity changes following intramuscular administration of novel pSG2.HIVconsv DNA, ChAdV63.HIVconsv and MVA.HIVconsv vaccines to BALB/c mice Vaccine, 31 (47), pp. 5594-5601. | Show Abstract | Read more

Background: The systemic toxicity of three candidate HIV-1 vaccines plasmid pSG2.HIVconsv DNA (D), ChAdV63.HIVconsv (C) and MVA. HIVconsv (M) expressing chimeric immunogen derived from the most conserved regions of the HIV-1 proteome was evaluated in two repeat-dose studies in the male and female BALB/c mice. Methods: In study UNO011, mice received three doses of 2×10 7 plaque-forming units of MVA. HIVconsv vaccine (MMM). In study UNO012, mice received 3 doses of 50μg of pSG2.HIVconsv DNA followed by a single dose of 5.95×10 9 virus particles of ChAdV63.HIVconsv vaccine (DDDC). Similarly constituted control groups received the vehicle alone (phosphate buffered saline) at the same volume-dose. All vaccines were administered by intramuscular needle injection into the right hind limb at 14-day intervals and animals were sacrificed 7 days after the last dose. Assessment of local and systemic toxicity was made. Induction of HIV-1-specific responses was confirmed. Parameters assessed included clinical condition, body weight, food consumption, ophthalmoscopy, haematology, blood chemistry, organ weight and macroscopic and microscopic pathology. Results: In both studies, treatment with the candidate vaccines elicited strong HIV-1-specific T-cell responses. The vaccine treatment was well-tolerated without any adverse systemic toxicological changes. The local toxicity findings observed in these studies were consistent with the predicted response to a vaccine/substance administration by intramuscular injection. Conclusions: The three novel anti-HIV-1 vaccines were well tolerated when administered by intramuscular injection to BALB/c mice. These results supported an application for authorisation by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency of the UK to test these vaccines for the first time in phase I clinical trials in healthy both uninfected subjects and HIV-1-infected patients stable on antiretroviral treatment. © 2013 The Authors.

Chen L, Fischer R, Peng Y, Reeves E, McHugh K, Ternette N, Hanke T, Dong T, Elliott T, Shastri N et al. 2014. Critical role of endoplasmic reticulum aminopeptidase 1 in determining the length and sequence of peptides bound and presented by HLA-B27. Arthritis Rheumatol, 66 (2), pp. 284-294. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVE: HLA-B27 and endoplasmic reticulum aminopeptidase 1 (ERAP1) are the two strongest genetic factors predisposing to ankylosing spondylitis (AS). A key aminopeptidase in class I major histocompatibility complex presentation, ERAP1 potentially contributes to the pathogenesis of AS by altering HLA-B27 peptide presentation. The aim of this study was to analyze the effects of ERAP1 on the HLA-B27 peptide repertoire and peptide presentation to cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs). METHODS: ERAP1-silenced and -competent HeLa.B27 and C1R.B27 cells were isotope-labeled, mixed, lysed, and then immunoprecipitated using W6/32 or ME1 antibodies. Peptides bound to HLA-B27 were eluted and analyzed by tandem mass spectrometry. Selected peptides were synthesized and tested for HLA-B27 binding ability. The effect of ERAP1 silencing/mutation on presentation of an immunodominant viral HLA-B27 epitope, KK10, to CTLs was also studied. RESULTS: In both HeLa.B27 and C1R.B27 cells, the proportion of 9-mer HLA-B27-bound peptides was decreased by ERAP1 silencing, whereas the percentages of longer peptides (11-13 mer) were increased. Surprisingly, following ERAP1 silencing, C-terminally extended peptides were readily identified. These were better able to bind to HLA-B27 than were N-terminally extended peptides lacking an arginine at position 2. In both HeLa.B27 cells and mouse fibroblasts expressing HLA-B27, the absence of ERAP1 reduced peptide recognition by HLA-B27-restricted KK10-specific CTLs following infection with recombinant vaccinia virus or transfection with minigenes expressing KK10 precursors. Presence of an AS-protective variant of ERAP1, K528R, as compared to wild-type ERAP1, reduced the peptide recognition by KK10 CTLs following transfection with extended KK10 minigenes. CONCLUSION: These results show that ERAP1 directly alters peptide binding and presentation by HLA-B27, thus demonstrating a potential pathogenic mechanism in AS. Inhibition of ERAP1 could potentially be used for treatment of AS and other ERAP1-associated diseases.

Borthwick N, Ahmed T, Ondondo B, Hayes P, Rose A, Ebrahimsa U, Hayton EJ, Black A, Bridgeman A, Rosario M et al. 2014. Vaccine-elicited human T cells recognizing conserved protein regions inhibit HIV-1. Mol Ther, 22 (2), pp. 464-475. | Show Abstract | Read more

Virus diversity and escape from immune responses are the biggest challenges to the development of an effective vaccine against HIV-1. We hypothesized that T-cell vaccines targeting the most conserved regions of the HIV-1 proteome, which are common to most variants and bear fitness costs when mutated, will generate effectors that efficiently recognize and kill virus-infected cells early enough after transmission to potentially impact on HIV-1 replication and will do so more efficiently than whole protein-based T-cell vaccines. Here, we describe the first-ever administration of conserved immunogen vaccines vectored using prime-boost regimens of DNA, simian adenovirus and modified vaccinia virus Ankara to uninfected UK volunteers. The vaccine induced high levels of effector T cells that recognized virus-infected autologous CD4(+) cells and inhibited HIV-1 replication by up to 5.79 log10. The virus inhibition was mediated by both Gag- and Pol- specific effector CD8(+) T cells targeting epitopes that are typically subdominant in natural infection. These results provide proof of concept for using a vaccine to target T cells at conserved epitopes, showing that these T cells can control HIV-1 replication in vitro.

Koopman G, Beenhakker N, Nieuwenhuis I, Doxiadis G, Mooij P, Drijfhout JW, Koestler J, Hanke T, Fagrouch Z, Verschoor EJ et al. 2013. DNA/long peptide vaccination against conserved regions of SIV induces partial protection against SIVmac251 challenge. AIDS, 27 (18), pp. 2841-2851. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVES: We recently developed a HIVconsv vaccine strategy, consisting of combined conserved regions of HIV-1, to adequately cover viral diversity. To evaluate efficacy in nonhuman primates, an equivalent SIV-derived immunogen SIVconsv was designed and delivered as plasmid DNA or synthetic long peptides. DESIGN: Rhesus macaques lacking protective MHC class I alleles Mamu-A*001 : 01, B*008 : 01, B*017 : 01 were immunized with either SIVconsv synthetic long peptides (S) alone or in combination with plasmid DNA encoding the same conserved regions (D) using SSS or DDSS regimens. METHODS: The SIVconsv synthetic long peptide vaccine consisted of 46 approximately 30-amino acid-long peptides emulsified in Montanide ISA-720 and adjuvanted with pegylated type I interferon and imiquimod. RESULTS: Both SSS and DDSS regimens generated high frequencies of SIV-specific IFN-γ-producing cells comparable with reported adenoviral vector systems. Strong polyfunctional CD4⁺ T-cell and modest CD8⁺ T-cell responses were generated, which were of central memory T-cell phenotype. Furthermore, SIVconsv-specific antibody responses were induced capable of recognizing the Env glycoprotein. Eight weeks after the last immunization, control and SIVconsv-vaccinated animals were challenged intrarectally with 10 MID50 of pathogenic SIVmac251. Two out of six animals in the DDSS group were protected against infection, while all 14 animals in the SSS and two control groups were infected. Vaccine induced SIV-specific IgG responses in mucosal washes prechallenge were highest in the two protected animals. CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates that vaccine-elicited responses towards conserved regions can afford partial protection against a high-dose intrarectal SIVmac251 challenge.

Ondondo B, Brennan C, Nicosia A, Crome SJ, Hanke T. 2013. Absence of systemic toxicity changes following intramuscular administration of novel pSG2.HIVconsv DNA, ChAdV63.HIVconsv and MVA.HIVconsv vaccines to BALB/c mice. Vaccine, 31 (47), pp. 5594-5601. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The systemic toxicity of three candidate HIV-1 vaccines plasmid pSG2.HIVconsv DNA (D), ChAdV63.HIVconsv (C) and MVA.HIVconsv (M) expressing chimeric immunogen derived from the most conserved regions of the HIV-1 proteome was evaluated in two repeat-dose studies in the male and female BALB/c mice. METHODS: In study UNO011, mice received three doses of 2×10(7) plaque-forming units of MVA.HIVconsv vaccine (MMM). In study UNO012, mice received 3 doses of 50μg of pSG2.HIVconsv DNA followed by a single dose of 5.95×10(9) virus particles of ChAdV63.HIVconsv vaccine (DDDC). Similarly constituted control groups received the vehicle alone (phosphate buffered saline) at the same volume-dose. All vaccines were administered by intramuscular needle injection into the right hind limb at 14-day intervals and animals were sacrificed 7 days after the last dose. Assessment of local and systemic toxicity was made. Induction of HIV-1-specific responses was confirmed. Parameters assessed included clinical condition, body weight, food consumption, ophthalmoscopy, haematology, blood chemistry, organ weight and macroscopic and microscopic pathology. RESULTS: In both studies, treatment with the candidate vaccines elicited strong HIV-1-specific T-cell responses. The vaccine treatment was well-tolerated without any adverse systemic toxicological changes. The local toxicity findings observed in these studies were consistent with the predicted response to a vaccine/substance administration by intramuscular injection. CONCLUSIONS: The three novel anti-HIV-1 vaccines were well tolerated when administered by intramuscular injection to BALB/c mice. These results supported an application for authorisation by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency of the UK to test these vaccines for the first time in phase I clinical trials in healthy both uninfected subjects and HIV-1-infected patients stable on antiretroviral treatment.

Afolabi MO, Ndure J, Drammeh A, Darboe F, Mehedi SR, Rowland-Jones SL, Borthwick N, Black A, Ambler G, John-Stewart GC et al. 2013. A phase I randomized clinical trial of candidate human immunodeficiency virus type 1 vaccine MVA.HIVA administered to Gambian infants. PLoS One, 8 (10), pp. e78289. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: A vaccine to decrease transmission of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) during breast-feeding would complement efforts to eliminate infant HIV-1 infection by antiretroviral therapy. Relative to adults, infants have distinct immune development, potentially high-risk of transmission when exposed to HIV-1 and rapid progression to AIDS when infected. To date, there have been only three published HIV-1 vaccine trials in infants. TRIAL DESIGN: We conducted a randomized phase I clinical trial PedVacc 001 assessing the feasibility, safety and immunogenicity of a single dose of candidate vaccine MVA.HIVA administered intramuscularly to 20-week-old infants born to HIV-1-negative mothers in The Gambia. METHODS: Infants were followed to 9 months of age with assessment of safety, immunogenicity and interference with Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) vaccines. The trial is the first stage of developing more complex prime-boost vaccination strategies against breast milk transmission of HIV-1. RESULTS: From March to October 2010, 48 infants (24 vaccine and 24 no-treatment) were enrolled with 100% retention. The MVA.HIVA vaccine was safe with no difference in adverse events between vaccinees and untreated infants. Two vaccine recipients (9%) and no controls had positive ex vivo interferon-γ ELISPOT assay responses. Antibody levels elicited to the EPI vaccines, which included diphtheria, tetanus, whole-cell pertussis, hepatitis B virus, Haemophilus influenzae type b and oral poliovirus, reached protective levels for the vast majority and were similar between the two arms. CONCLUSIONS: A single low-dose of MVA.HIVA administered to 20-week-old infants in The Gambia was found to be safe and without interference with the induction of protective antibody levels by EPI vaccines, but did not alone induce sufficient HIV-1-specific responses. These data support the use of MVA carrying other transgenes as a boosting vector within more complex prime-boost vaccine strategies against transmission of HIV-1 and/or other infections in this age group. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00982579. The Pan African Clinical Trials Registry PACTR2008120000904116.

Saubi N, Gea-Mallorqui E, Mbewe-Mvula A, Hurtado C, Gatell J, Hanke T, Joseph J. 2012. Pre-clinical development of BCG.HIVA(CAT) strain, an antibiotic-free selection strain for HIV-TB pediatric vaccine RETROVIROLOGY, 9 (Suppl 2), pp. P352-P352. | Read more

Rosario M, Koopman G, Mbewe-Mvula A, Knudsen ML, Quakkelaar ED, Borthwick N, Wagner R, Price DA, Liljestrom P, Melief CJ et al. 2012. Optimizing delivery of HIV-1 conserved region-derived immunogen for induction of T and B cell responses in rhesus macaques RETROVIROLOGY, 9

Koopman G, Beenhakker N, Nieuwenhuis I, Doxiadis G, Mooij P, Drijfhout JW, Koestler J, Hanke T, Bontrop RE, Wagner R et al. 2012. SIVconsv DNA prime-TLR7/IFN alpha adjuvanted long peptide boost induces potent CD4+Ab responses and protects against high dose intrarectal SIV challenge RETROVIROLOGY, 9

Borthwick NJ, Ahmed T, Rose A, Ebrahimsa U, Black A, Hayton E, Yang H, Hancock G, Campion S, Frahm N et al. 2012. Immunogenicity of a universal HIV-1 vaccine vectored by DNA, MVA and CHADV-63 in a Phase I/IIA clinical trial RETROVIROLOGY, 9 (Suppl 2), pp. P118-P118. | Read more

Ahmed T, Borthwick N, Yang H, Hancock G, Yorke L, Ebrahimsa U, Rose A, Black A, Hayton E, McMichael A et al. 2012. Recombinant DNA/MVA/ChAdV-63-elicited T cells specific for conserved regions of the HIV-1 proteome recognize HIV-1 infected cells and suppress HIV-1 RETROVIROLOGY, 9 (Suppl 2), pp. P259-P259. | Read more

Roshorm Y, Cottingham MG, Potash MJ, Volsky DJ, Hanke T. 2012. T cells induced by recombinant chimpanzee adenovirus alone and in prime-boost regimens decrease chimeric EcoHIV/NDK challenge virus load. Eur J Immunol, 42 (12), pp. 3243-3255. | Show Abstract | Read more

The popularity of nonreplicating adenoviruses of chimpanzee origin (ChAdVs) as vectors for subunit vaccines is on the rise. This is mainly for their excellent safety and impressive immunogenicity observed in human studies to date. Here, we recloned the chimpanzee adenovirus sero type 68 (ChAdV-68), also designated SAdV-25 and AdC68, genome and demonstrated its straightforward genetic manipulation facilitated by the use of bacterial artificial chromosome recombineering. To generate the ChAdV68.GagB vaccine, the HIV-1 consensus clade B Gag-derived Tg was inserted into the E1 region. In part confirming previous observations, the ChAdV68.GagB vaccine alone and in heterologous prime-boost regimens with plasmid DNA- and modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA)-vectored vaccines induced robust polyfunctional HIV-1-specific CD8(+) and CD4(+) T-cell responses with a gut-homing phenotype. Importantly, we showed that when a single epitope is expressed as an immunodominant CD8(+) T-cell determinant, responses elicited by ChAdV68.GagB alone and in combination lowered surrogate challenge EcoHIV/NDK (where EcoHIV is chimeric ecotropic HIV) virus load in mice both at the peak T-cell frequencies 2 weeks after vaccination and 16 weeks later indicating development of protective effector memory. These results parallel the immunogenicity of similar vaccine regimens in macaques and an ongoing phase I/IIa trial in humans, and support further development of vaccines vectored by ChAdVs.

Hanke T. 2012. PedVACC 001 and 002: building foundations for infant HIV-1 vaccine trials against breast milk transmission of HIV-1 TROPICAL MEDICINE & INTERNATIONAL HEALTH, 17 pp. 3-3.

Kelschenbach JL, Saini M, Hadas E, Gu CJ, Chao W, Bentsman G, Hong JP, Hanke T, Sharer LR, Potash MJ, Volsky DJ. 2012. Mice chronically infected with chimeric HIV resist peripheral and brain superinfection: a model of protective immunity to HIV. J Neuroimmune Pharmacol, 7 (2), pp. 380-387. | Show Abstract | Read more

Infection by some viruses induces immunity to reinfection, providing a means to identify protective epitopes. To investigate resistance to reinfection in an animal model of HIV disease and its control, we employed infection of mice with chimeric HIV, EcoHIV. When immunocompetent mice were infected by intraperitoneal (IP) injection of EcoHIV, they resisted subsequent secondary infection by IP injection, consistent with a systemic antiviral immune response. To investigate the potential role of these responses in restricting neurotropic HIV infection, we established a protocol for efficient EcoHIV expression in the brain following intracranial (IC) inoculation of virus. When mice were inoculated by IP injection and secondarily by IC injection, they also controlled EcoHIV replication in the brain. To investigate their role in EcoHIV antiviral responses, CD8+ T lymphocytes were isolated from spleens of EcoHIV infected and uninfected mice and adoptively transferred to isogenic recipients. Recipients of EcoHIV primed CD8+ cells resisted subsequent EcoHIV infection compared to recipients of cells from uninfected donors. CD8+ spleen cells from EcoHIV-infected mice also mounted modest but significant interferon-γ responses to two HIV Gag peptide pools. These findings suggest EcoHIV-infected mice may serve as a useful system to investigate the induction of anti-HIV protective immunity for eventual translation to human beings.

Knudsen ML, Mbewe-Mvula A, Rosario M, Johansson DX, Kakoulidou M, Bridgeman A, Reyes-Sandoval A, Nicosia A, Ljungberg K, Hanke T, Liljeström P. 2012. Superior induction of T cell responses to conserved HIV-1 regions by electroporated alphavirus replicon DNA compared to that with conventional plasmid DNA vaccine. J Virol, 86 (8), pp. 4082-4090. | Show Abstract | Read more

Vaccination using "naked" DNA is a highly attractive strategy for induction of pathogen-specific immune responses; however, it has been only weakly immunogenic in humans. Previously, we constructed DNA-launched Semliki Forest virus replicons (DREP), which stimulate pattern recognition receptors and induce augmented immune responses. Also, in vivo electroporation was shown to enhance immune responses induced by conventional DNA vaccines. Here, we combine these two approaches and show that in vivo electroporation increases CD8(+) T cell responses induced by DREP and consequently decreases the DNA dose required to induce a response. The vaccines used in this study encode the multiclade HIV-1 T cell immunogen HIVconsv, which is currently being evaluated in clinical trials. Using intradermal delivery followed by electroporation, the DREP.HIVconsv DNA dose could be reduced to as low as 3.2 ng to elicit frequencies of HIV-1-specific CD8(+) T cells comparable to those induced by 1 μg of a conventional pTH.HIVconsv DNA vaccine, representing a 625-fold molar reduction in dose. Responses induced by both DREP.HIVconsv and pTH.HIVconsv were further increased by heterologous vaccine boosts employing modified vaccinia virus Ankara MVA.HIVconsv and attenuated chimpanzee adenovirus ChAdV63.HIVconsv. Using the same HIVconsv vaccines, the mouse observations were supported by an at least 20-fold-lower dose of DNA vaccine in rhesus macaques. These data point toward a strategy for overcoming the low immunogenicity of DNA vaccines in humans and strongly support further development of the DREP vaccine platform for clinical evaluation.

Saubi N, Mbewe-Mvula A, Gea-Mallorqui E, Rosario M, Gatell JM, Hanke T, Joseph J. 2012. Pre-clinical development of BCG.HIVA(CAT), an antibiotic-free selection strain, for HIV-TB pediatric vaccine vectored by lysine auxotroph of BCG. PLoS One, 7 (8), pp. e42559. | Show Abstract | Read more

In the past, we proposed to develop a heterologous recombinant BCG prime-recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) boost dual pediatric vaccine platform against transmission of breast milk HIV-1 and Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb). In this study, we assembled an E. coli-mycobacterial shuttle plasmid pJH222.HIVA(CAT) expressing HIV-1 clade A immunogen HIVA. This shuttle vector employs an antibiotic resistance-free mechanism based on Operator-Repressor Titration (ORT) system for plasmid selection and maintenance in E. coli and lysine complementation in mycobacteria. This shuttle plasmid was electroporated into parental lysine auxotroph (safer) strain of BCG to generate vaccine BCG.HIVA(CAT). All procedures complied with Good Laboratory Practices (GLPs). We demonstrated that the episomal plasmid pJH222.HIVA(CAT) was stable in vivo over a 20-week period, and genetically and phenotypically characterized the BCG.HIVA(CAT) vaccine strain. The BCG.HIVA(CAT) vaccine in combination with MVA.HIVA induced HIV-1- and Mtb-specific interferon γ-producing T-cell responses in newborn and adult BALB/c mice. On the other hand, when adult mice were primed with BCG.HIVA(CAT) and boosted with MVA.HIVA.85A, HIV-1-specific CD8(+) T-cells producing IFN-γ, TNF-α, IL-2 and CD107a were induced. To assess the biosafety profile of BCG.HIVA(CAT)-MVA.HIVA regimen, body mass loss of newborn mice was monitored regularly throughout the vaccination experiment and no difference was observed between the vaccinated and naïve groups of animals. Thus, we demonstrated T-cell immunogenicity of a novel, safer, GLP-compatible BCG-vectored vaccine using prototype immunogen HIVA. Second generation immunogens derived from HIV-1 as well as other major pediatric pathogens can be constructed in a similar fashion to prime protective responses soon after birth.

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Rosario M, Borthwick N, Stewart-Jones GB, Mbewe-Mvula A, Bridgeman A, Colloca S, Montefiori D, McMichael AJ, Nicosia A, Quakkelaar ED et al. 2012. Prime-boost regimens with adjuvanted synthetic long peptides elicit T cells and antibodies to conserved regions of HIV-1 in macaques AIDS, 26 (3), pp. 275-284. | Show Abstract | Read more

Objectives: Administration of synthetic long peptides (SLPs) derived from human papillomavirus to cervical cancer patients resulted in clinical benefit correlated with expansions of tumour-specific T cells. Because vaginal mucosa is an important port of entry for HIV-1, we have explored SLP for HIV-1 vaccination. Using immunogen HIVconsv derived from the conserved regions of HIV-1, we previously showed in rhesus macaques that SLP.HIVconsv delivered as a boost increased the breath of T-cell specificities elicited by single-gene vaccines. Here, we compared and characterized the use of electroporated pSG2.HIVconsv DNA (D) and imiquimod/montanide-adjuvanted SLP.HIVconsv (S) as priming vaccines for boosting with attenuated chimpanzee adenovirus ChAdV63.HIVconsv (C) and modified vaccinia virus Ankara MVA.HIVconsv (M). Design: Prime-boost regimens of DDDCMS, DSSCMS and SSSCMS in rhesus macaques. Methods: Animals' blood was analysed regularly throughout the vaccination for HIV-1-specific T-cell and antibody responses. Results: We found that electroporation spares DNA dose, both SLP.HIVconsv and pSG2.HIVconsv DNA primed weakly HIVconsv-specific T cells, regimen DDDCM induced the highest frequencies of oligofunctional, proliferating CD4 and CD8 T cells, and a subsequent SLP.HIVconsv boost expanded primarily CD4 cells. DSS was the most efficient regimen inducing antibodies binding to regions of trimeric HIV-1 Env, which are highly conserved among the four major global clades, although no unequivocal neutralizing activity was detected. Conclusion: The present results encourage evaluation of the SLP.HIVconsv vaccine modality in human volunteers along the currently trialled pSG2.HIVconsv DNA, ChAdV63.HIVconsv and MVA.HIVconsv vaccines. These results are discussed in the context of the RV144 trial outcome. © 2012 Wolters Kluwer Health Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Hanke T, McMichael AJ. 2011. HIV-1: from escapism to conservatism. Eur J Immunol, 41 (12), pp. 3390-3393. | Read more

Rosario M, Borthwick N, Stewart-Jones GB, Mbewe-Mvula A, Bridgeman A, Colloca S, Montefiori D, McMichael AJ, Nicosia A, Quakkelaar ED et al. 2012. Prime-boost regimens with adjuvanted synthetic long peptides elicit T cells and antibodies to conserved regions of HIV-1 in macaques. AIDS, 26 (3), pp. 275-284. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVES: Administration of synthetic long peptides (SLPs) derived from human papillomavirus to cervical cancer patients resulted in clinical benefit correlated with expansions of tumour-specific T cells. Because vaginal mucosa is an important port of entry for HIV-1, we have explored SLP for HIV-1 vaccination. Using immunogen HIVconsv derived from the conserved regions of HIV-1, we previously showed in rhesus macaques that SLP.HIVconsv delivered as a boost increased the breath of T-cell specificities elicited by single-gene vaccines. Here, we compared and characterized the use of electroporated pSG2.HIVconsv DNA (D) and imiquimod/montanide-adjuvanted SLP.HIVconsv (S) as priming vaccines for boosting with attenuated chimpanzee adenovirus ChAdV63.HIVconsv (C) and modified vaccinia virus Ankara MVA.HIVconsv (M). DESIGN: Prime-boost regimens of DDDCMS, DSSCMS and SSSCMS in rhesus macaques. METHODS: Animals' blood was analysed regularly throughout the vaccination for HIV-1-specific T-cell and antibody responses. RESULTS: We found that electroporation spares DNA dose, both SLP.HIVconsv and pSG2.HIVconsv DNA primed weakly HIVconsv-specific T cells, regimen DDDCM induced the highest frequencies of oligofunctional, proliferating CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells, and a subsequent SLP.HIVconsv boost expanded primarily CD4(+) cells. DSS was the most efficient regimen inducing antibodies binding to regions of trimeric HIV-1 Env, which are highly conserved among the four major global clades, although no unequivocal neutralizing activity was detected. CONCLUSION: The present results encourage evaluation of the SLP.HIVconsv vaccine modality in human volunteers along the currently trialled pSG2.HIVconsv DNA, ChAdV63.HIVconsv and MVA.HIVconsv vaccines. These results are discussed in the context of the RV144 trial outcome.

Hopkins R, Bridgeman A, Bourne C, Mbewe-Mvula A, Sadoff JC, Both GW, Joseph J, Fulkerson J, Hanke T. 2011. Optimizing HIV-1-specific CD8+ T-cell induction by recombinant BCG in prime-boost regimens with heterologous viral vectors. Eur J Immunol, 41 (12), pp. 3542-3552. | Show Abstract | Read more

The desire to induce HIV-1-specific responses soon after birth to prevent breast milk transmission of HIV-1 led us to propose a vaccine regimen which primes HIV-1-specific T cells using a recombinant Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guérin (rBCG) vaccine. Because attenuated live bacterial vaccines are typically not sufficiently immunogenic as stand-alone vaccines, rBCG-primed T cells will likely require boost immunization(s). Here, we compared modified Danish (AERAS-401) and Pasteur lysine auxotroph (222) strains of BCG expressing the immunogen HIVA for their potency to prime HIV-1-specific responses in adult BALB/c mice and examined four heterologous boosting HIVA vaccines for their immunogenic synergy. We found that both BCG.HIVA(401) and BCG.HIVA(222) primed HIV-1-specific CD8(+) T-cell-mediated responses. The strongest boosts were delivered by human adenovirus-vectored HAdV5.HIVA and sheep atadenovirus-vectored OAdV7.HIVA vaccines, followed by poxvirus MVA.HIVA; the weakest was plasmid pTH.HIVA DNA. The prime-boost regimens induced T cells capable of efficient in vivo killing of sensitized target cells. We also observed that the BCG.HIVA(401) and BCG.HIVA(222) vaccines have broadly similar immunologic properties, but display a number of differences mainly detected through distinct profiles of soluble intercellular signaling molecules produced by immune splenocytes in response to both HIV-1- and BCG-specific stimuli. These results encourage further development of the rBCG prime-boost regimen.

Im EJ, Hong JP, Roshorm Y, Bridgeman A, Létourneau S, Liljeström P, Potash MJ, Volsky DJ, McMichael AJ, Hanke T. 2011. Protective efficacy of serially up-ranked subdominant CD8+ T cell epitopes against virus challenges. PLoS Pathog, 7 (5), pp. e1002041. | Show Abstract | Read more

Immunodominance in T cell responses to complex antigens like viruses is still incompletely understood. Some data indicate that the dominant responses to viruses are not necessarily the most protective, while other data imply that dominant responses are the most important. The issue is of considerable importance to the rational design of vaccines, particularly against variable escaping viruses like human immunodeficiency virus type 1 and hepatitis C virus. Here, we showed that sequential inactivation of dominant epitopes up-ranks the remaining subdominant determinants. Importantly, we demonstrated that subdominant epitopes can induce robust responses and protect against whole viruses if they are allowed at least once in the vaccination regimen to locally or temporally dominate T cell induction. Therefore, refocusing T cell immune responses away from highly variable determinants recognized during natural virus infection towards subdominant, but conserved regions is possible and merits evaluation in humans.

Guimaraes-Walker A, Mackie N, McCormack S, Hanke T, Schmidt C, Gilmour J, Barin B, McMichael A, Weber J, Legg K et al. 2011. Lessons from IAVI-006, a Phase I clinical trial to evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of the pTHr.HIVA DNA and MVA.HIVA vaccines in a prime-boost strategy to induce HIV-1 specific T-cell responses in healthy volunteers (vol 26, pg 6671, 2008) VACCINE, 29 (18), pp. 3511-3511. | Read more

Hopkins R, Bridgeman A, Bourne C, Mbewe-Mvula A, Sadoff JC, Both GW, Joseph J, Fulkerson J, Hanke T. 2011. Optimizing HIV-1-specific CD8 <sup>+</sup> T-cell induction by recombinant BCG in prime-boost regimens with heterologous viral vectors European Journal of Immunology, 41 (12), pp. 3542-3552. | Show Abstract | Read more

The desire to induce HIV-1-specific responses soon after birth to prevent breast milk transmission of HIV-1 led us to propose a vaccine regimen which primes HIV-1-specific T cells using a recombinant Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guérin (rBCG) vaccine. Because attenuated live bacterial vaccines are typically not sufficiently immunogenic as stand-alone vaccines, rBCG-primed T cells will likely require boost immunization(s). Here, we compared modified Danish (AERAS-401) and Pasteur lysine auxotroph (222) strains of BCG expressing the immunogen HIVA for their potency to prime HIV-1-specific responses in adult BALB/c mice and examined four heterologous boosting HIVA vaccines for their immunogenic synergy. We found that both BCG.HIVA 401 and BCG.HIVA 222 primed HIV-1-specific CD8 + T-cell-mediated responses. The strongest boosts were delivered by human adenovirus-vectored HAdV5.HIVA and sheep atadenovirus-vectored OAdV7.HIVA vaccines, followed by poxvirus MVA.HIVA; the weakest was plasmid pTH.HIVA DNA. The prime-boost regimens induced T cells capable of efficient in vivo killing of sensitized target cells. We also observed that the BCG.HIVA 401 and BCG.HIVA 222 vaccines have broadly similar immunologic properties, but display a number of differences mainly detected through distinct profiles of soluble intercellular signaling molecules produced by immune splenocytes in response to both HIV-1- and BCG-specific stimuli. These results encourage further development of the rBCG prime-boost regimen. © 2011 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

Kelschenbach JL, Saini M, Hadas E, Gu C-J, Chao W, Bentsman G, Hong JP, Hanke T, Sharer LR, Potash MJ, Volsky DJ. 2011. Mice Chronically Infected with Chimeric HIV Resist Peripheral and Brain Superinfection: A Model of Protective Immunity to HIV Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology, pp. 1-8.

Saubi N, Im E-J, Fernandez-Lloris R, Gil O, Cardona P-J, Gatell J, Hanke T, Joseph J. 2011. Newborn Mice Vaccination with BCG.HIVA(222) plus MVA.HIVA Enhances HIV-1-Specific Immune Responses: Influence of Age and Immunization Routes CLINICAL & DEVELOPMENTAL IMMUNOLOGY, 2011 pp. 1-11. | Read more

Hopkins R, Bridgeman A, Joseph J, Gilbert SC, McShane H, Hanke T. 2011. Dual neonate vaccine platform against HIV-1 and M. tuberculosis. PLoS One, 6 (5), pp. e20067. | Show Abstract | Read more

Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome and tuberculosis (TB) are two of the world's most devastating diseases. The first vaccine the majority of infants born in Africa receive is Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) as a prevention against TB. BCG protects against disseminated disease in the first 10 years of life, but provides a variable protection against pulmonary TB and enhancing boost delivered by recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara (rMVA) expressing antigen 85A (Ag85A) of M. tuberculosis is currently in phase IIb evaluation in African neonates. If the newborn's mother is positive for human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), the baby is at high risk of acquiring HIV-1 through breastfeeding. We suggested that a vaccination consisting of recombinant BCG expressing HIV-1 immunogen administered at birth followed by a boost with rMVA sharing the same immunogen could serve as a strategy for prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV-1 and rMVA expressing an African HIV-1-derived immunogen HIVA is currently in phase I trials in African neonates. Here, we aim to develop a dual neonate vaccine platform against HIV-1 and TB consisting of BCG.HIVA administered at birth followed by a boost with MVA.HIVA.85A. Thus, mMVA.HIVA.85A and sMVA.HIVA.85A vaccines were constructed, in which the transgene transcription is driven by either modified H5 or short synthetic promoters, respectively, and tested for immunogenicity alone and in combination with BCG.HIVA(222). mMVA.HIVA.85A was produced markerless and thus suitable for clinical manufacture. While sMVA.HIVA.85A expressed higher levels of the immunogens, it was less immunogenic than mMVA.HIVA.85A in BALB/c mice. A BCG.HIVA(222)-mMVA.HIVA.85A prime-boost regimen induced robust T cell responses to both HIV-1 and M. tuberculosis. Therefore, proof-of-principle for a dual anti-HIV-1/M. tuberculosis infant vaccine platform is established. Induction of immune responses against these pathogens soon after birth is highly desirable and may provide a basis for lifetime protection maintained by boosts later in life.

Guimarães-Walker A, Mackie N, McCormack S, Hanke T, Schmidt C, Gilmour J, Barin B, McMichael A, Weber J, Legg K et al. 2011. Corrigendum to "Lessons from IAVI-006, a Phase I clinical trial to evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of the pTHr.HIVA DNA and MVA.HIVA vaccines in a prime-boost strategy to induce HIV-1 specific T-cell responses in healthy volunteers" [Vaccine 26 (2008) 6671-6677] (DOI:10.1016/j.vaccine.2008.09.016) Vaccine,

Howles S, Guimarães-Walker A, Yang H, Hancock G, di Gleria K, Tarragona-Fiol T, Hayes P, Gilmour J, Bridgeman A, Hanke T et al. 2010. Vaccination with a modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA)-vectored HIV-1 immunogen induces modest vector-specific T cell responses in human subjects. Vaccine, 28 (45), pp. 7306-7312. | Show Abstract | Read more

We investigated whether vaccination of healthy HIV-seronegative and HIV-1-seropositive antiretroviral therapy-treated subjects with recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara expressing an HIV-1 immunogen (MVA.HIVA) induced MVA-specific T cell responses. Using IFN-γ Elispot assays, we observed new or increased responses to MVA virus in 52% of HIV-seronegative subjects and 93% HIV-1 seropositive subjects; MVA-specific T cell frequencies were generally low and correlated poorly with T cell responses to the HIV-1 immunogen. In two vaccinees, responses were mapped to CD8+ T cell epitopes present in replication-competent vaccinia virus. These data support further evaluation of MVA as a viral vector for HIV-1 immunogens.

Rosario M, Fulkerson J, Soneji S, Parker J, Im EJ, Borthwick N, Bridgeman A, Bourne C, Joseph J, Sadoff JC, Hanke T. 2010. Safety and immunogenicity of novel recombinant BCG and modified vaccinia virus Ankara vaccines in neonate rhesus macaques. J Virol, 84 (15), pp. 7815-7821. | Show Abstract | Read more

Although major inroads into making antiretroviral therapy available in resource-poor countries have been made, there is an urgent need for an effective vaccine administered shortly after birth, which would protect infants from acquiring human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) through breast-feeding. Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) is given to most infants at birth, and its recombinant form could be used to prime HIV-1-specific responses for a later boost by heterologous vectors delivering the same HIV-1-derived immunogen. Here, two groups of neonate Indian rhesus macaques were immunized with either novel candidate vaccine BCG.HIVA(401) or its parental strain AERAS-401, followed by two doses of recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara MVA.HIVA. The HIVA immunogen is derived from African clade A HIV-1. All vaccines were safe, giving local reactions consistent with the expected response at the injection site. No systemic adverse events or gross abnormality was seen at necropsy. Both AERAS-401 and BCG.HIVA(401) induced high frequencies of BCG-specific IFN-gamma-secreting lymphocytes that declined over 23 weeks, but the latter failed to induce detectable HIV-1-specific IFN-gamma responses. MVA.HIVA elicited HIV-1-specific IFN-gamma responses in all eight animals, but, except for one animal, these responses were weak. The HIV-1-specific responses induced in infants were lower compared to historic data generated by the two HIVA vaccines in adult animals but similar to other recombinant poxviruses tested in this model. This is the first time these vaccines were tested in newborn monkeys. These results inform further infant vaccine development and provide comparative data for two human infant vaccine trials of MVA.HIVA.

Rosario M, Hopkins R, Fulkerson J, Borthwick N, Quigley MF, Joseph J, Douek DC, Greenaway HY, Venturi V, Gostick E et al. 2010. Novel recombinant Mycobacterium bovis BCG, ovine atadenovirus, and modified vaccinia virus Ankara vaccines combine to induce robust human immunodeficiency virus-specific CD4 and CD8 T-cell responses in rhesus macaques. J Virol, 84 (12), pp. 5898-5908. | Show Abstract | Read more

Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), which elicits a degree of protective immunity against tuberculosis, is the most widely used vaccine in the world. Due to its persistence and immunogenicity, BCG has been proposed as a vector for vaccines against other infections, including HIV-1. BCG has a very good safety record, although it can cause disseminated disease in immunocompromised individuals. Here, we constructed a recombinant BCG vector expressing HIV-1 clade A-derived immunogen HIVA using the recently described safer and more immunogenic BCG strain AERAS-401 as the parental mycobacterium. Using routine ex vivo T-cell assays, BCG.HIVA(401) as a stand-alone vaccine induced undetectable and weak CD8 T-cell responses in BALB/c mice and rhesus macaques, respectively. However, when BCG.HIVA(401) was used as a priming component in heterologous vaccination regimens together with recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara-vectored MVA.HIVA and ovine atadenovirus-vectored OAdV.HIVA vaccines, robust HIV-1-specific T-cell responses were elicited. These high-frequency T-cell responses were broadly directed and capable of proliferation in response to recall antigen. Furthermore, multiple antigen-specific T-cell clonotypes were efficiently recruited into the memory pool. These desirable features are thought to be associated with good control of HIV-1 infection. In addition, strong and persistent T-cell responses specific for the BCG-derived purified protein derivative (PPD) antigen were induced. This work is the first demonstration of immunogenicity for two novel vaccine vectors and the corresponding candidate HIV-1 vaccines BCG.HIVA(401) and OAdV.HIVA in nonhuman primates. These results strongly support their further exploration.

Rosario M, Bridgeman A, Quakkelaar ED, Quigley MF, Hill BJ, Knudsen ML, Ammendola V, Ljungberg K, Borthwick N, Im EJ et al. 2010. Long peptides induce polyfunctional T cells against conserved regions of HIV-1 with superior breadth to single-gene vaccines in macaques. Eur J Immunol, 40 (7), pp. 1973-1984. | Show Abstract | Read more

A novel T-cell vaccine strategy designed to deal with the enormity of HIV-1 variation is described and tested for the first time in macaques to inform and complement approaching clinical trials. T-cell immunogen HIVconsv, which directs vaccine-induced responses to the most conserved regions of the HIV-1, proteome and thus both targets diverse clades in the population and reduces the chance of escape in infected individuals, was delivered using six different vaccine modalities: plasmid DNA (D), attenuated human (A) and chimpanzee (C) adenoviruses, modified vaccinia virus Ankara (M), synthetic long peptides, and Semliki Forest virus replicons. We confirmed that the initial DDDAM regimen, which mimics one of the clinical schedules (DDDCM), is highly immunogenic in macaques. Furthermore, adjuvanted synthetic long peptides divided into sub-pools and delivered into anatomically separate sites induced T-cell responses that were markedly broader than those elicited by traditional single-open-reading-frame genetic vaccines and increased by 30% the overall response magnitude compared with DDDAM. Thus, by improving both the HIV-1-derived immunogen and vector regimen/delivery, this approach could induce stronger, broader, and theoretically more protective T-cell responses than vaccines previously used in humans.

Hanke T. 2010. On the growing complexity of HIV-1 vaccines HIV Therapy, 4 (5), pp. 543-552. | Show Abstract | Read more

The development of an effective HIV-1 vaccine continues to pose a formidable challenge. While traditional approaches of live-attenuated and inactivated vaccines are either too dangerous or inefficient, modern and safer subunit vaccines are still in their infancy and struggle to cope with various aspects of HIV-1 biology, including the enormous variability of HIV-1. Three simple prophylactic candidate vaccine strategies have now been tested in human efficacy trials, with only a very marginal and yet to be confirmed success in the most recent one. Thus, HIV-1 immunological control, which may require induction of both broadly neutralizing antibodies and T cells capable of controlling multiple clades and escape variants. At protective levels, an increase in subunit vaccine design complexity is required. I argue that, by analogy to antiretroviral treatment, even a relatively complex vaccine may not only serve to prove the concept, but can be successfully deployed in countries with limited resources and infrastructure. © 2010 Future Medicine Ltd.

Bridgeman A, Roshorm Y, Lockett LJ, Xu ZZ, Hopkins R, Shaw J, Both GW, Hanke T. 2009. Ovine atadenovirus, a novel and highly immunogenic vector in prime-boost studies of a candidate HIV-1 vaccine. Vaccine, 28 (2), pp. 474-483. | Show Abstract | Read more

Ovine adenovirus type 7 (OAdV) is the prototype member of the genus Atadenovirus. No immunity to the virus has so far been detected in human sera. We describe the construction and evaluation of a candidate HIV-1 vaccine based on OAdV and its utilisation alone and in combination with plasmid-, human adenovirus type 5 (HAdV5; a Mastadenovirus)-, and modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA)-vectored vaccines. All vectors expressed HIVA, an immunogen consisting of HIV-1 clade A consensus Gag-derived protein coupled to a T cell polyepitope. OAdV.HIVA was genetically stable, grew well and expressed high levels of protein from the Rous sarcoma virus promoter. OAdV.HIVA was highly immunogenic in mice and efficiently primed and boosted HIV-1-specific T cell responses together with heterologous HIVA-expressing vectors. There were significant differences between OAdV and HAdV5 vectors in priming of naïve CD8(+) T cell responses to HIVA and in the persistence of MHC class I-restricted epitope presentation in the local draining lymph nodes. OAdV.HIVA primed T cells more rapidly but was less persistent than AdV5.HIVA and thus induced a qualitatively distinct T cell response. Nevertheless, both vectors primed a response in mice that reduced viral titres in a surrogate challenge model by three to four orders of magnitude. Thus, OAdV is a novel, underexplored vaccine vector with potential for further development for HIV-1 and other vaccines. The data are discussed in the context of the latest HIV-1 vaccine developments.

Yang H, Guimarães-Walker A, Hibbs S, Dong T, Stacey A, Borrow P, Hanke T, Davenport MP, McMichael A, Dorrell L. 2009. Interleukin-10 responses to therapeutic vaccination during highly active antiretroviral therapy and after analytical therapy interruption. AIDS, 23 (16), pp. 2226-2230. | Show Abstract | Read more

We investigated whether therapeutic vaccination in highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART)-treated patients with a modified vaccinia virus Ankara-vectored HIV-1 vaccine, with or without therapy interruption, induced the production of interleukin (IL)-10. Plasma IL-10 levels were not significantly increased postvaccination, but increased in parallel with viraemia in patients who interrupted therapy. Surprisingly, IL-10 blockade augmented HIV-specific T cell proliferative responses in HAART-suppressed patients but had no effect once virological control was lost. Modulation of IL-10 might enhance vaccine-induced immune responses.

Roshorm Y, Hong JP, Kobayashi N, McMichael AJ, Volsky DJ, Potash MJ, Takiguchi M, Hanke T. 2009. Novel HIV-1 clade B candidate vaccines designed for HLA-B*5101(+) patients protected mice against chimaeric ecotropic HIV-1 challenge. Eur J Immunol, 39 (7), pp. 1831-1840. | Show Abstract | Read more

Novel candidate HIV-1 vaccines have been constructed, which are tailor-designed for HLA-B*5101(+) patients infected with HIV-1 clade B. These vaccines employ novel immunogen HIVB-B*5101 derived from consensus HIV-1 clade B Gag p17 and p24 regions coupled to two Pol-derived B*5101-restricted epitopes, which are together with a third B*5101 epitope in Gag dominant in HIV-1-infected long-term non-progressing patients. Both plasmid DNA and modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) vectors supported high expression levels of the HIVB-B*5101 immunogen in cultured cells. Heterologous DNA prime-recombinant MVA boost regimen induced efficiently HIV-1-specific CD8(+) T-cell responses in BALB/c mice. These vaccine-elicited T cells were multifunctional, killed efficiently target cells in vivo, and protected mice against challenge with ecotropic HIV-1/NL4-3 and ecotropic HIV-1/NDK chimaeric viruses with HIV-1 clade B or D backbones, respectively, and ecotropic murine leukemia virus gp80 envelope, and therefore did so in the absence of anti-HIV-1 gp120 antibodies. These results support further development of HIVB-B*5101 vaccines in combined heterologous-modality regimens. The use of allele-specific vaccines in humans is discussed in the context of other developments in the HIV-1 field.

Winstone N, Guimarães-Walker A, Roberts J, Brown D, Loach V, Goonetilleke N, Hanke T, McMichael AJ. 2009. Increased detection of proliferating, polyfunctional, HIV-1-specific T cells in DNA-modified vaccinia virus Ankara-vaccinated human volunteers by cultured IFN-gamma ELISPOT assay. Eur J Immunol, 39 (4), pp. 975-985. | Show Abstract | Read more

Induction of a long-term immunological memory, which can expand and defend the host upon pathogen encounter, is the "holy grail" of vaccinology. Here, using a sensitive cultured IFN-gamma ELISPOT assay, we show that 50% (15 out of 30) of healthy, HIV-1/2-uninfected volunteers who received pTHr.HIVA DNA prime-modified vaccinia virus Ankara. HIVA boost vaccine regimen 1 to 3 1/2 years ago had detectable HIV-1-specific T-cell responses. These T cells, predominantly of the CD4(+) subtype, could proliferate and produce multiple cytokines in response to in vitro peptide stimulation. Peptide mapping studies showed that the vaccine-induced CD4(+) T cells were mostly directed toward epitopes targeted in HIV-1-infected individuals. In addition, we used the same assay to re-evaluate 51 volunteers from past vaccine trial IAVI-006 and corrected the previously reported 10% of vaccine responders to 50%. Thus, we confirmed that cultured assays are a valuable tool for studying T-cell memory. These results are discussed in the context of the current state-of-affairs of the HIV-1 vaccine field.

Rosario M, Borthwick N, Bridgeman A, Watkins D, Colloca S, Quakkelaar ED, Liljestrom P, Nicosia A, Melief CJ, Hanke T. 2009. Dealing with HIV-I diversity RETROVIROLOGY, 6

Saubi N, Im EJ, Fernández-Lloris R, Gil O, Cardona PJ, Gatell JM, Hanke T, Joseph J. 2011. Newborn mice vaccination with BCG.HIVA²²² + MVA.HIVA enhances HIV-1-specific immune responses: influence of age and immunization routes. Clin Dev Immunol, 2011 pp. 516219. | Show Abstract | Read more

We have evaluated the influence of age and immunization routes for induction of HIV-1- and M. tuberculosis-specific immune responses after neonatal (7 days old) and adult (7 weeks old) BALB/c mice immunization with BCG.HIVA(222) prime and MVA.HIVA boost. The specific HIV-1 cellular immune responses were analyzed in spleen cells. The body weight of the newborn mice was weekly recorded. The frequencies of HIV-specific CD8(+) T cells producing IFN-γ were higher in adult mice vaccinated intradermally and lower in adult and newborn mice vaccinated subcutaneously. In all cases the IFN-γ production was significantly higher when mice were primed with BCG.HIVA(222) compared with BCGwt. When the HIV-specific CTL activity was assessed, the frequencies of specific killing were higher in newborn mice than in adults. The prime-boost vaccination regimen which includes BCG.HIVA(222) and MVA.HIVA was safe when inoculated to newborn mice. The administration of BCG.HIVA(222) to newborn mice is safe and immunogenic and increased the HIV-specific responses induced by MVA.HIVA vaccine. It might be a good model for infant HIV and Tuberculosis bivalent vaccine.

Teoh D, Johnson LA, Hanke T, McMichael AJ, Jackson DG. 2009. Blocking development of a CD8+ T cell response by targeting lymphatic recruitment of APC. J Immunol, 182 (4), pp. 2425-2431. | Show Abstract | Read more

Generating a protective immune response to viral infection is known to depend upon the priming and clonal expansion of virus-specific CD8(+) T cells by Ag-loaded dendritic cells (DC) within secondary lymphoid tissue. However, the actual initiation of the response involves critical upstream events that control the recruitment of mature Ag-charged DC from the periphery via afferent lymphatics, events that are still only partly understood. Recent evidence has revealed that transmigration of lymphatic endothelium by DC is regulated by the adhesion molecules ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 both in vitro and in vivo. These findings imply that lymphatic entry may be an important rate-limiting step in primary immunity and a possible target for immune intervention. In this study, we have explored such possibilities using an F(5) TCR-transgenic mouse model to assess the contribution of lymphatic cell adhesion molecules in the CD8(+) T cell response to influenza virus nucleoprotein (NP). We show for the first time that immunization with ICAM-1- and VCAM-1-blocking mAbs can impair the T cell response in lymph node-draining sites of dermally administered nucleoprotein vaccine (MVA.HIVA.NP) by targeting lymphatic uptake of Ag-loaded DC ahead of other cell adhesion molecule-dependent events. These results reveal lymphatic entry as an important step that may be rate limiting in the development of immunity and reconfirm its potential as a target for localized immunotherapy in inflammation and tissue rejection.

Rosario M, Borthwick N, Bridgeman A, Watkins D, Colloca S, Quakkelaar ED, Liljestrom P, Nicosia A, Melief CJ, Hanke T. 2009. P17-05. Dealing with HIV-1 diversity Retrovirology, 6 (Suppl 3), pp. P287-P287. | Read more

Guimarães-Walker A, Mackie N, McCormack S, Hanke T, Schmidt C, Gilmour J, Barin B, McMichael A, Weber J, Legg K et al. 2008. Lessons from IAVI-006, a phase I clinical trial to evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of the pTHr.HIVA DNA and MVA.HIVA vaccines in a prime-boost strategy to induce HIV-1 specific T-cell responses in healthy volunteers. Vaccine, 26 (51), pp. 6671-6677. | Show Abstract | Read more

IAVI-006 was the first large randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled Phase I clinical trial to systematically investigate the prime-boost strategy for induction of HIV-1 specific CD8+ cytotoxic T-lymphocytes (CTL) in a factorial trial design using (i) priming with 0.5 mg or 2 mg of pTHr.HIVA DNA vaccine, followed by (ii) two booster vaccinations with 5 x 10(7) MVA.HIVA at weeks 8 and 12 (early boost) or weeks 20 and 24 (late boost). This study set the basis for later clinical trials and demonstrated the safety of these candidate HIV vaccines. The safety and immunogenicity results are presented and the lessons derived from this clinical trial are discussed.

Hanke T. 2008. STEP trial and HIV-1 vaccines inducing T-cell responses. Expert Rev Vaccines, 7 (3), pp. 303-309. | Show Abstract | Read more

Recombinant, nonreplicating, human adenovirus serotype 5-vectored vaccine, known as MRKAd5, expressing three HIV-1 clade B-derived internal proteins when used in a homologous immunization regimen, did not decrease HIV-1 infection rate nor postinfection virus load in the first Phase IIb proof-of-concept trial. However, the vaccine did not reach the limits of vaccine T-cell induction and its design can be improved both from the point of the HIV-1-derived immunogens and their delivery. Therefore, failure of the first experimental HIV-1 vaccine focusing on induction of T-cell responses cannot be a reason for dismissal of the whole T-cell vaccine concept, nor for losing a positive attitude toward systematic HIV-1 vaccine development.

Hanke T. 2008. Developing HIV-1 vaccines with a positive attitude Future HIV Therapy, 2 (3), pp. 213-216. | Read more

Im EJ, Saubi N, Virgili G, Sander C, Teoh D, Gatell JM, McShane H, Joseph J, Hanke T. 2007. Vaccine platform for prevention of tuberculosis and mother-to-child transmission of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 through breastfeeding. J Virol, 81 (17), pp. 9408-9418. | Show Abstract | Read more

Most children in Africa receive their vaccine against tuberculosis at birth. Those infants born to human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-positive mothers are at high risk of acquiring HIV-1 infection through breastfeeding in the first weeks of their lives. Thus, the development of a vaccine which would protect newborns against both of these major global killers is a logical yet highly scientifically, ethically, and practically challenging aim. Here, a recombinant lysine auxotroph of Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), a BCG strain that is safer than those currently used and expresses an African HIV-1 clade-derived immunogen, was generated and shown to be stable and to induce durable, high-quality HIV-1-specific CD4(+)- and CD8(+)-T-cell responses. Furthermore, when the recombinant BCG vaccine was used in a priming-boosting regimen with heterologous components, the HIV-1-specific responses provided protection against surrogate virus challenge, and the recombinant BCG vaccine alone protected against aerosol challenge with M. tuberculosis. Thus, inserting an HIV-1-derived immunogen into the scheduled BCG vaccine delivered at or soon after birth may prime HIV-1-specific responses, which can be boosted by natural exposure to HIV-1 in the breast milk and/or by a heterologous vaccine such as recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara delivering the same immunogen, and decrease mother-to-child transmission of HIV-1 during breastfeeding.

Yang H, Dong T, Turnbull E, Ranasinghe S, Ondondo B, Goonetilleke N, Winstone N, di Gleria K, Bowness P, Conlon C et al. 2007. Broad TCR usage in functional HIV-1-specific CD8+ T cell expansions driven by vaccination during highly active antiretroviral therapy. J Immunol, 179 (1), pp. 597-606. | Show Abstract

During chronic HIV-1 infection, continuing viral replication is associated with impaired proliferative capacity of virus-specific CD8+ T cells and with the expansion and persistence of oligoclonal T cell populations. TCR usage may significantly influence CD8+ T cell-mediated control of AIDS viruses; however, the potential to modulate the repertoire of functional virus-specific T cells by immunotherapy has not been explored. To investigate this, we analyzed the TCR Vbeta usage of CD8+ T cells populations which were expanded following vaccination with modified vaccinia virus Ankara expressing a HIV-1 gag/multiepitope immunogen (MVA.HIVA) in HIV-1-infected patients receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy. Vaccinations induced the re-expansion of HIV-1-specific CD8+ T cells and these showed broad TCR Vbeta usage which was maintained for at least 1 year in some individuals. By contrast, virus-specific CD8+ T cell populations in the same donors which failed to expand after vaccination and in unvaccinated controls were oligoclonal. Simultaneously, we observed that CD8+ T cells recognizing vaccine-derived HIV-1 epitopes displayed enhanced capacity to proliferate and to inhibit HIV-1 replication in vitro, following MVA.HIVA immunizations. Taken together, these data indicate that an attenuated viral-vectored vaccine can modulate adaptive CD8+ T cell responses to HIV-1 and improve their antiviral functional capacity. The potential therapeutic benefit of this vaccination approach warrants further investigation.

Im EJ, Hanke T. 2007. Short communication: preclinical evaluation of candidate HIV type 1 vaccines in inbred strains and an outbred stock of mice. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses, 23 (7), pp. 857-862. | Show Abstract | Read more

Outstanding animal immunogenicity is a prerequisite for progression of novel vaccines to clinical trials. The measurement of vaccine immunogenicity is critically dependent on the specificity, accuracy, sensitivity, and precision of the employed assays. This has been greatly aided by the generation of isogenic mouse strains. Here, we identified three novel H-2(d) -restricted CD8+ T cell epitopes derived from the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 and demonstrated a fine evaluation of the vaccine-elicited T cell responses in an inbred mouse strain. However, unlike inbred mice, outbred mouse stock indicated preferential induction of CD4+ T cell responses by a heterologous DNA-prime-recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara boost regimen and induction of dominant responses to the env-derived vaccine component, i.e., observations reminiscent of human data. Thus, an outbred mouse stock may provide more rigorous and realistic tests for candidate vaccine evaluation in addition to sensitive assays in a selected, well-responding inbred strain.

Dorrell L, Williams P, Suttill A, Brown D, Roberts J, Conlon C, Hanke T, McMichael A. 2007. Safety and tolerability of recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara expressing an HIV-1 gag/multiepitope immunogen (MVA.HIVA) in HIV-1-infected persons receiving combination antiretroviral therapy. Vaccine, 25 (17), pp. 3277-3283. | Show Abstract | Read more

The safety of attenuated poxviruses in HIV-1-infected individuals is an important consideration in their application as vaccine vectors, first, because new HIV-1 infections may occur in vaccine trials involving persons at high risk of infection and secondly, therapeutic vaccinations are a potential means to enhance virus-specific immune responses once infection has occurred. We administered a candidate modified vaccinia virus Ankara-vectored HIV-1 vaccine, MVA.HIVA, by intradermal injection to 16 chronically infected adults during highly active antiretroviral therapy. Vaccinations were well tolerated and there were no serious adverse events. No breakthrough viraemia occurred after immunisations or throughout follow-up. These data confirm the safety of MVA.HIVA in HIV-1-infected individuals and provide support for further evaluation of MVA-vectored vaccines in prophylactic and therapeutic immunisation strategies.

Larke N, Im EJ, Wagner R, Williamson C, Williamson AL, McMichael AJ, Hanke T. 2007. Combined single-clade candidate HIV-1 vaccines induce T cell responses limited by multiple forms of in vivo immune interference. Eur J Immunol, 37 (2), pp. 566-577. | Show Abstract | Read more

We assessed in mice whether broad CD8+ T cell responses capable of efficient recognition of multiple HIV-1 clades could be induced using current single-clade vaccine constructs that were or will be used in clinical trials in Europe and Africa. We found that single-clade A, B and C vaccines applied alone induced only limited cross-clade reactivity and that the epitope hierarchy varied according to the immunizing clade. However, combining single-clade HIV-1 vaccines into multi-clade formulations resulted in multiple forms of in vivo immune interference such as original antigenic sin and antagonism, which dampened or even abrogated induction of responses to epitope variants and reduced the breadth of induced T cell responses. Simultaneous administration of individual clade-specific vaccines into anatomically separated sites on the body alleviated antagonism and increased the number of detectable epitope responses. Although cross-reactivity of murine CD8+ T cells does not directly translate to humans, the molecular interactions involved in triggering T cell responses are the same in mouse and man. Thus, these results have important ramifications for the design of both prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines against HIV-1 and other highly variable pathogens.

Hanke T, Goonetilleke N, McMichael AJ, Dorrell L. 2007. Clinical experience with plasmid DNA- and modified vaccinia virus Ankara-vectored human immunodeficiency virus type 1 clade A vaccine focusing on T-cell induction. J Gen Virol, 88 (Pt 1), pp. 1-12. | Show Abstract | Read more

Candidate human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) vaccines focusing on T-cell induction, constructed as pTHr.HIVA DNA and modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA).HIVA, were delivered in a heterologous prime-boost regimen. The vaccines were tested in several hundred healthy or HIV-1-infected volunteers in Europe and Africa. Whilst larger trials of hundreds of volunteers suggested induction of HIV-1-specific T-cell responses in <15 % of healthy vaccinees, a series of small, rapid trials in 12-24 volunteers at a time with a more in-depth analysis of vaccine-elicited T-cell responses proved to be highly informative and provided more encouraging results. These trials demonstrated that the pTHr.HIVA vaccine alone primed consistently weak and mainly CD4(+), but also CD8(+) T-cell responses, and the MVA.HIVA vaccine delivered a consistent boost to both CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells, which was particularly strong in HIV-1-infected patients. Thus, whilst the search is on for ways to enhance T-cell priming, MVA is a useful boosting vector for human subunit genetic vaccines.

Létourneau S, Im EJ, Mashishi T, Brereton C, Bridgeman A, Yang H, Dorrell L, Dong T, Korber B, McMichael AJ, Hanke T. 2007. Design and pre-clinical evaluation of a universal HIV-1 vaccine. PLoS One, 2 (10), pp. e984. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: One of the big roadblocks in development of HIV-1/AIDS vaccines is the enormous diversity of HIV-1, which could limit the value of any HIV-1 vaccine candidate currently under test. METHODOLOGY AND FINDINGS: To address the HIV-1 variation, we designed a novel T cell immunogen, designated HIV(CONSV), by assembling the 14 most conserved regions of the HIV-1 proteome into one chimaeric protein. Each segment is a consensus sequence from one of the four major HIV-1 clades A, B, C and D, which alternate to ensure equal clade coverage. The gene coding for the HIV(CONSV) protein was inserted into the three most studied vaccine vectors, plasmid DNA, human adenovirus serotype 5 and modified vaccine virus Ankara (MVA), and induced HIV-1-specific T cell responses in mice. We also demonstrated that these conserved regions prime CD8(+) and CD4(+) T cell to highly conserved epitopes in humans and that these epitopes, although usually subdominant, generate memory T cells in patients during natural HIV-1 infection. SIGNIFICANCE: Therefore, this vaccine approach provides an attractive and testable alternative for overcoming the HIV-1 variability, while focusing T cell responses on regions of the virus that are less likely to mutate and escape. Furthermore, this approach has merit in the simplicity of design and delivery, requiring only a single immunogen to provide extensive coverage of global HIV-1 population diversity.

Vinner L, Therrien D, Wee E, Laursen I, Hanke T, Corbet SL, Fomsgaard A. 2006. Immune response in rhesus macaques after mixed modality immunisations with DNA, recombinant adenovirus and recombinant gp120 from human immunodeficiency virus type 1. APMIS, 114 (10), pp. 690-699. | Show Abstract | Read more

The establishment of effective regimens for a vaccine against human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) is urgently needed. In the present study we have produced HIV-1 gp120 from a vaccine-relevant primary R5 isolate in recombinant vaccinia (rVV)-infected Vero cells. We have investigated the effect of boosting with this protein in mixed modality immunisations of rhesus macaques following different immunisation. As reported earlier, animals were primed with codon-optimised HIV-1(BX08)env DNA delivered as plasmid or as replication-deficient recombinant human adenovirus type 5 (rAd5), which both induced specific antibody and cellular immune responses (1). Boosting with rAd5 temporarily had increased the anti-gp120 antibody titres approximately 1 log (rAd5+rAd5) or 3 log (DNA+rAd5) (1). However, secondary rAd5 boosting showed less effect due to the induced vector-specific immunity. To further boost the antibody response, the rgp120(BX08) was injected with Quadri A saponin adjuvant. The protein boosting resulted in a 1-2 log antibody increase and also boosting of the cell-mediated immune response. Neutralising antibodies to the heterologous HIV-1(MN) were detected; however, neutralising antibodies to the primary HIV-1(Bx08) isolate were seen only transiently after rAd5 but not the rgp120 immunisation. It is concluded that the rgp120(Bx08) reagent from rVV-infected Vero cells is functional and immunogenic in macaques, inducing both antibody and cellular immunity. The rgp120(Bx08) is a relevant model antigen that may be used to boost antibody and cellular immunity in mixed modality vaccine regimens against HIV-1 in higher animals.

Ondondo BO, Yang H, Dong T, di Gleria K, Suttill A, Conlon C, Brown D, Williams P, Rowland-Jones SL, Hanke T et al. 2006. Immunisation with recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara expressing HIV-1 gag in HIV-1-infected subjects stimulates broad functional CD4+ T cell responses. Eur J Immunol, 36 (10), pp. 2585-2594. | Show Abstract | Read more

Virus-specific CD4+ T cells with IL-2-secreting and/or proliferative capacity are detected readily in HIV-1-infected long-term nonprogressors and rarely in persons with untreated progressive infection. The contribution of these cells to viraemia control is uncertain, but this question might be addressed in clinical therapeutic vaccination studies. However, the quality of T helper responses induced by currently available HIV-1 vaccine candidates has not been explored in depth. We determined the effect of vaccination with modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) expressing HIV-1 gag p24/p17 (MVA.HIVA) on HIV-1-specific CD4+ T cell responses in 16 chronically infected, highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART)-treated subjects using CD8-depleted IFN-gamma ELISPOT assays, intracellular cytokine staining assays for IL-2 and IFN-gamma, and a CFSE-based proliferation assay. Gag-specific CD4+ T cell responses were significantly increased in magnitude and breadth after vaccination and targeted both known and new epitopes, several of which were also recognised by healthy HIV-uninfected volunteers immunised with the same vaccines. The frequencies of CD4+ T cells expressing IL-2 or IFN-gamma, alone or simultaneously, were also augmented. These findings indicate that functional virus-specific T helper cells can be boosted by vaccination in chronic HIV-1 infection. Further evaluation of their role in viraemia control is warranted.

Im EJ, Nkolola JP, di Gleria K, McMichael AJ, Hanke T. 2006. Induction of long-lasting multi-specific CD8+ T cells by a four-component DNA-MVA/HIVA-RENTA candidate HIV-1 vaccine in rhesus macaques. Eur J Immunol, 36 (10), pp. 2574-2584. | Show Abstract | Read more

As a part of a long-term effort to develop vaccine against HIV-1 clade A inducing protective T cell responses in humans, we run mutually complementing studies in humans and non-human primates (NHP) with the aim to maximize vaccine immunogenicity. The candidate vaccine under development has four components, pTHr.HIVA and pTH.RENTA DNA, and modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA).HIVA and MVA.RENTA, delivered in a heterologous DNA prime-MVA boost regimen. While the HIVA (Gag/epitopes) components have been tested in NHP and over 300 human subjects, we plan to test in humans the RENTA (reverse transcriptase, gp41, Nef, Tat) vaccines designed to broaden HIVA-induced responses in year 2007. Here, we investigated the four-component vaccine long-term immunogenicity in Mamu-A*01-positive rhesus macaques and demonstrated that the vaccine-induced T cells were multi-specific, multi-functional, readily proliferated to recall peptides and were circulating in the peripheral blood of vaccine recipients over 1 year after vaccine administration. The consensus clade A-elicited T cells recognized 50% of tested epitope variants from other HIV-1 clades. Thus, the DNA-MVA/HIVA-RENTA vaccine induced memory T cells of desirable characteristics and similarities to those induced in humans by HIVA vaccines alone; however, single-clade vaccines may not elicit sufficiently cross-reactive responses.

Dorrell L, Yang H, Ondondo B, Dong T, di Gleria K, Suttill A, Conlon C, Brown D, Williams P, Bowness P et al. 2006. Expansion and diversification of virus-specific T cells following immunization of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-infected individuals with a recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara/HIV-1 Gag vaccine. J Virol, 80 (10), pp. 4705-4716. | Show Abstract | Read more

Affordable therapeutic strategies that induce sustained control of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) replication and are tailored to the developing world are urgently needed. Since CD8(+) and CD4(+) T cells are crucial to HIV-1 control, stimulation of potent cellular responses by therapeutic vaccination might be exploited to reduce antiretroviral drug exposure. However, therapeutic vaccines tested to date have shown modest immunogenicity. In this study, we performed a comprehensive analysis of the changes in virus-specific CD8(+) and CD4(+) T-cell responses occurring after vaccination of 16 HIV-1-infected individuals with a recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara-vectored vaccine expressing the consensus HIV-1 clade A Gag p24/p17 sequences and multiple CD8(+) T-cell epitopes during highly active antiretroviral therapy. We observed significant amplification and broadening of CD8(+) and CD4(+) gamma interferon responses to vaccine-derived epitopes in the vaccinees, without rebound viremia, but not in two unvaccinated controls followed simultaneously. Vaccine-driven CD8(+) T-cell expansions were also detected by tetramer reactivity, predominantly in the CD45RA(-) CCR7(+) or CD45RA(-) CCR7(-) compartments, and persisted for at least 1 year. Expansion was associated with a marked but transient up-regulation of CD38 and perforin within days of vaccination. Gag-specific CD8(+) and CD4(+) T-cell proliferation also increased postvaccination. These data suggest that immunization with MVA.HIVA is a feasible strategy to enhance potentially protective T-cell responses in individuals with chronic HIV-1 infection.

Goonetilleke N, Moore S, Dally L, Winstone N, Cebere I, Mahmoud A, Pinheiro S, Gillespie G, Brown D, Loach V et al. 2006. Induction of multifunctional human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-specific T cells capable of proliferation in healthy subjects by using a prime-boost regimen of DNA- and modified vaccinia virus Ankara-vectored vaccines expressing HIV-1 Gag coupled to CD8+ T-cell epitopes. J Virol, 80 (10), pp. 4717-4728. | Show Abstract | Read more

A double-blind randomized phase I trial was conducted in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-negative subjects receiving vaccines vectored by plasmid DNA and modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) expressing HIV-1 p24/p17 gag linked to a string of CD8(+) T-cell epitopes. The trial had two groups. One group received either two doses of MVA.HIVA (2x MVA.HIVA) (n=8) or two doses of placebo (2x placebo) (n=4). The second group received 2x pTHr.HIVA followed by one dose of MVA.HIVA (n=8) or 3x placebo (n=4). In the pTHr.HIVA-MVA.HIVA group, HIV-1-specific T-cell responses peaked 1 week after MVA.HIVA vaccination in both ex vivo gamma interferon (IFN-gamma) ELISPOT (group mean, 210 spot-forming cells/10(6) cells) and proliferation (group mean stimulation index, 37), with assays detecting positive responses in four out of eight and five out of eight subjects, respectively. No HIV-1-specific T-cell responses were detected in either assay in the 2x MVA.HIVA group or subjects receiving placebo. Using a highly sensitive and reproducible cultured IFN-gamma ELISPOT assay, positive responses mainly mediated by CD4(+) T cells were detected in eight out of eight vaccinees in the pTHr.HIVA-MVA.HIVA group and four out of eight vaccinees in the 2x MVA.HIVA group. Importantly, no false-positive responses were detected in the eight subjects receiving placebo. Of the 12 responders, 11 developed responses to previously identified immunodominant CD4(+) T-cell epitopes, with 6 volunteers having responses to more than one epitope. Five out of 12 responders also developed CD8(+) T-cell responses to the epitope string. Induced T cells produced a variety of anti-viral cytokines, including tumor necrosis factor alpha and macrophage inflammatory protein 1 beta. These data demonstrate that prime-boost vaccination with recombinant DNA and MVA vectors can induce multifunctional HIV-1-specific T cells in the majority of vaccinees.

Hanke T. 2006. On DNA vaccines and prolonged expression of immunogens. Eur J Immunol, 36 (4), pp. 806-809. | Show Abstract | Read more

Persistent hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection represents a major public health concern because of its association with chronic liver disease and the propensity of the disease to progress to cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Despite the availability of a prophylactic vaccine effective in a majority of the population, alternative vaccination strategies are being sought to induce protective responses in healthy non-responders and to boost and broaden T cell responses in chronically infected patients, which may lead to a better control of the virus and/or its eventual complete clearance. In this issue of the European Journal of Immunology immunization of BALB/c mice intramuscularly with a DNA vaccine encoding the hepatitis virus B surface antigen (HBsAg) was shown to result in prolonged secretion of HBsAg into the serum and the elicitation of HBsAg-specific antibodies. In fact, the vaccine was so efficient that the antibodies and HBsAg formed circulating immune complexes and induced kidney and liver lesions similar to those observed in chronically infected patients. This commentary discusses these results in terms of the safety of plasmid DNA-vectored genetic vaccines in general, the use of DNA vaccines expressing HBsAg for the treatment of chronic hepatitis and the consequences of prolonged immunogen expression for the development of protective immune responses.

Burgers WA, van Harmelen JH, Shephard E, Adams C, Mgwebi T, Bourn W, Hanke T, Williamson AL, Williamson C. 2006. Design and preclinical evaluation of a multigene human immunodeficiency virus type 1 subtype C DNA vaccine for clinical trial. J Gen Virol, 87 (Pt 2), pp. 399-410. | Show Abstract | Read more

In this study, the design and preclinical development of a multigene human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) subtype C DNA vaccine are described, developed as part of the South African AIDS Vaccine Initiative (SAAVI). Genetic variation remains a major obstacle in the development of an HIV-1 vaccine and recent strategies have focused on constructing vaccines based on the subtypes dominant in the developing world, where the epidemic is most severe. The vaccine, SAAVI DNA-C, contains an equimolar mixture of two plasmids, pTHr.grttnC and pTHr.gp150CT, which express a polyprotein derived from Gag, reverse transcriptase (RT), Tat and Nef, and a truncated Env, respectively. Genes included in the vaccine were obtained from individuals within 3 months of infection and selection was based on closeness to a South African subtype C consensus sequence. All genes were codon-optimized for increased expression in humans. The genes have been modified for safety, stability and immunogenicity. Tat was inactivated through shuffling of gene fragments, whilst maintaining all potential epitopes; the active site of RT was mutated; 124 aa were removed from the cytoplasmic tail of gp160; and Nef and Gag myristylation sites were inactivated. Following vaccination of BALB/c mice, high levels of cytotoxic T lymphocytes were induced against multiple epitopes and the vaccine stimulated strong CD8+ gamma interferon responses. In addition, high titres of antibodies to gp120 were induced in guinea pigs. This vaccine is the first component of a prime-boost regimen that is scheduled for clinical trials in humans in the USA and South Africa.

Cebere I, Dorrell L, McShane H, Simmons A, McCormack S, Schmidt C, Smith C, Brooks M, Roberts JE, Darwin SC et al. 2006. Phase I clinical trial safety of DNA- and modified virus Ankara-vectored human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) vaccines administered alone and in a prime-boost regime to healthy HIV-1-uninfected volunteers. Vaccine, 24 (4), pp. 417-425. | Show Abstract | Read more

DNA- and modified virus Ankara (MVA)-vectored candidate vaccines expressing human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) clade A-derived p24/p17 gag fused to a string of HLA class I epitopes, called HIVA, were tested in phase I trials in healthy, HIV-1/2-uninfected adults in Oxford, United Kingdom. Eighteen volunteers were vaccinated with pTHr.HIVA DNA (IAVI-001) alone, 8 volunteers received MVA.HIVA (IAVI-003) alone and 9 volunteers from study IAVI-001 were boosted with MVA.HIVA 9-14 months after DNA priming (IAVI-005). Immunogenicity results observed in these trials was published previously [Mwau M, Cebere I, Sutton J, Chikoti P, Winstone N, Wee EG-T, et al. An HIV-1 clade A vaccine in clinical trials: stimulation of HIV-specific T cell responses by DNA and recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) vaccines in humans. J Gen Virol 2004;85:911-9]. Here, we report on the safety of the two vaccines and the vaccine regimes. Overall, both candidate vaccines were safe and well tolerated. There were no reported vaccine-related adverse events over the 6-month period of the study and up to 2 years after the last vaccination. There were no moderate or severe local symptoms recorded after the pTHr.HIVA DNA intramuscular administration. Almost all participants experienced local reactogenicity events such as redness and induration after MVA.HIVA intradermal injection. Thus, the results from these initial small phase I trials administering the pTHr.HIVA DNA and MVA.HIVA vaccines either alone or in a prime-boost regime to healthy HIV-1/2-negative adults indicated that the vaccines were safe and warranted further testing of this approach in larger phase I/II studies.

Ondondo B, Yang H, Dong T, de Gleria K, Suttill A, Conlon C, Brown D, Williams P, Bowness P, Rowland-Jones SL et al. 2006. Detection of broad functional gag-specific CD4+T cell responses in HIV-1-infected subjects following therapeutic immunization with rMVA expressing an HIV-1 gag immunogen RETROVIROLOGY, 3

Estcourt MJ, McMichael AJ, Hanke T. 2005. Altered primary CD8+ T cell response to a modified virus Ankara(MVA)-vectored vaccine in the absence of CD4+ T cell help. Eur J Immunol, 35 (12), pp. 3460-3467. | Show Abstract | Read more

T cell receptor-transgenic F5 mice were used to assess primary CD8+ T cell responses to a modified virus Ankara (MVA)-vectored vaccine in the absence of CD4+ T cell help. Naive, CD8-enriched, CFSE-labelled F5 cells were transferred into normal or CD4+ cell-depleted mice and the mice were vaccinated with MVA.HIVA-NP. At different time points during the primary response, F5 cells were re-isolated and analysed on divisional basis for a number of parameters. We demonstrated that the primary CD8+ T cell response in the absence of CD4+ T cell help differed from that in normal CD4+ cell-undepleted mice. While in the absence of CD4+ T cell help, the initial migratory progress from the local response to a systemic one was not grossly affected, the proportion of dying F5 cells during the expansion phase was markedly increased and resulted in an overall smaller expansion and significantly decreased frequency of CD8+ T cell memory after contraction. T cells primed without help displayed accelerated proliferation and activation, while expression of interferon-gamma remained similar. These phenomena were observed in the lymph nodes draining the MVA.HIVA-NP immunization site and were similar, but delayed by 2-3 days in spleen and non-draining lymph nodes.

Larke N, Murphy A, Wirblich C, Teoh D, Estcourt MJ, McMichael AJ, Roy P, Hanke T. 2005. Induction of human immunodeficiency virus type 1-specific T cells by a bluetongue virus tubule-vectored vaccine prime-recombinant modified virus Ankara boost regimen. J Virol, 79 (23), pp. 14822-14833. | Show Abstract | Read more

In the absence of strategies for reliable induction of antibodies broadly neutralizing human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), vaccine efforts have shifted toward the induction of cell-mediated immunity. Here we describe the construction and immunogenicity of novel T-cell vaccine NS1.HIVA, which delivers the HIV-1 clade A consensus-derived immunogen HIVA on the surface of tubular structures spontaneously formed by protein NS1 of bluetongue virus. We demonstrated that NS1 tubules can accommodate a protein as large as 527 amino acids without losing their self-assembly capability. When injected into BALB/c mice by several routes, chimeric NS1.HIVA tubules induced HIV-1-specific major histocompatibility complex class I-restricted T cells. These could be boosted by modified virus Ankara expressing the same immunogen and generate a memory capable of gamma interferon (IFN-gamma) production, proliferation, and lysis of sensitized target cells. Induced memory T cells readily produced IFN-gamma 230 days postimmunization, and upon a surrogate virus challenge, NS1.HIVA vaccine alone decreased the vaccinia virus vv.HIVA load in ovaries by 2 orders of magnitude 280 days after immunization. Thus, because of its T-cell immunogenicity and antigenic simplicity, the NS1 delivery system could serve as a priming agent for heterologous prime-boost vaccination regimens. Its usefulness in primates, including humans, remains to be determined.

Ondondo BO, Yang H, Rowland-Jones SL, Hanke T, McMichael A, Dorrell L. 2005. pTHr.HIVA and MVA.HIVA vaccines (gag p24/p17) augment CD4+T cell responses in chronically infected HIV-1 patients on HAART IMMUNOLOGY, 116 pp. 108-108.

Estcourt MJ, Létourneau S, McMichael AJ, Hanke T. 2005. Vaccine route, dose and type of delivery vector determine patterns of primary CD8+ T cell responses. Eur J Immunol, 35 (9), pp. 2532-2540. | Show Abstract | Read more

The dynamics of primary CD8+ T cell responses following administration of modified virus Ankara (MVA)- and DNA-vectored vaccines was investigated in a mouse model. To overcome the low frequency of naive antigen-specific precursors and follow the early expansion events, naive CFSE-labelled T cell receptor-transgenic F5 lymphocytes were transferred into syngeneic non-transgenic recipients prior to vaccination. Using the i.d., i.v. and i.m. routes and increasing recombinant MVA (rMVA) vaccine doses, the primary response was analysed on a divisional basis at local and distant lymphoid organs at various times after vaccination. The results indicated that F5 cell divisions were initiated in the local draining lymph nodes and cells only after five to six divisions appeared at more distant sites. The rMVA dose affected frequencies of cells entering division and at the peak response. When priming induced by rMVA and plasmid DNA was compared, dramatic differences in the cycling patterns were observed with plasmid DNA inducing a response slower and more sustained over the first 2 wk than rMVA. Both rMVA and DNA induced comparable IFN-gamma production, which increased with cell divisions. Taken together, the vaccine type, dose and route have a strong influence on the spatial and temporal patterns of initial T cell responses.

Dorrell L, Yang H, Iversen AK, Conlon C, Suttill A, Lancaster M, Dong T, Cebere I, Edwards A, Rowland-Jones S et al. 2005. Therapeutic immunization of highly active antiretroviral therapy-treated HIV-1-infected patients: safety and immunogenicity of an HIV-1 gag/poly-epitope DNA vaccine. AIDS, 19 (12), pp. 1321-1323. | Show Abstract | Read more

In view of the global emergency posed by lack of access to highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) and the limitations of current drug regimens, alternative therapeutic strategies are urgently needed. Cellular immune responses elicited by HIV-1 exert some control over virus replication, therefore the enhancement of HIV-1-specific responses by therapeutic vaccination might lead to viral containment without HAART. We evaluated the safety and immunogenicity, in HIV-1-infected individuals under HAART suppression, of a DNA vaccine, pTHr.HIVA.

Hanke T, McMichael AJ, Dennis MJ, Sharpe SA, Powell LA, McLoughlin L, Crome SJ. 2005. Biodistribution and persistence of an MVA-vectored candidate HIV vaccine in SIV-infected rhesus macaques and SCID mice. Vaccine, 23 (12), pp. 1507-1514. | Show Abstract | Read more

Recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) is together with a few other attenuated viral vectors on the forefront of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) vaccine development. As such, MVA-vectored vaccines are likely to be administered into immunocompromized individuals. Here, we demonstrated in a good laboratory practice study safety and biological clearance of candidate HIV-1 vaccine MVA.HIVA in simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)-infected rhesus macaques and mice with a severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) following an intradermal vaccine administration. In SIV-infected macaques, MVA.HIVA DNA was undetectable by nested PCR 6 weeks after dosing. In SCID mice, the MVA.HIVA vaccine was well tolerated and a positive PCR signal was only observed at the site of injection 49 days after dosing in four out of six mice, but even these sites were negative by day 81 post-injection. Therefore, the MVA.HIVA vaccine is considered safe for application in phase I clinical trials in HIV-1-infected human subjects. These results also contribute to the confidence of using MVA as a smallpox vaccine.

Nordström EK, Forsell MN, Barnfield C, Bonin E, Hanke T, Sundström M, Karlsson GB, Liljeström P. 2005. Enhanced immunogenicity using an alphavirus replicon DNA vaccine against human immunodeficiency virus type 1. J Gen Virol, 86 (Pt 2), pp. 349-354. | Show Abstract | Read more

With the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) epidemic expanding at increasing speed, development of a safe and effective vaccine remains a high priority. One of the most central vaccine platforms considered is plasmid DNA. However, high doses of DNA and several immunizations are typically needed to achieve detectable T-cell responses. In this study, a Semliki Forest virus replicon DNA vaccine designed for human clinical trials, DREP.HIVA, encoding an antigen that is currently being used in human trials in the context of a conventional DNA plasmid, pTHr.HIVA, was generated. It was shown that a single immunization of DREP.HIVA stimulated HIV-1-specific T-cell responses in mice, suggesting that the poor immunogenicity of conventional DNA vaccines may be enhanced by using viral replicon-based plasmid systems. The results presented here support the evaluation of Semliki Forest virus replicon DNA vaccines in non-human primates and in clinical studies.

Im EJ, Hanke T. 2004. MVA as a vector for vaccines against HIV-1. Expert Rev Vaccines, 3 (4 Suppl), pp. S89-S97. | Show Abstract | Read more

A vaccine against HIV Type 1 (HIV-1) is urgently needed. Modified vaccinia virus Ankara is an attenuated smallpox vaccine which can be adapted to express HIV-1 antigens. In this review, we discuss the features which make modified vaccinia virus Ankara an attractive vector for genetic vaccines and have put it, together with several other recombinant viral vectors, at the forefront of HIV-1 vaccine development. Many candidate vaccines including those vectored by modified vaccinia virus Ankara are now entering human trials, the results of which will become available in the coming years.

Nkolola JP, Wee EG, Im EJ, Jewell CP, Chen N, Xu XN, McMichael AJ, Hanke T. 2004. Engineering RENTA, a DNA prime-MVA boost HIV vaccine tailored for Eastern and Central Africa. Gene Ther, 11 (13), pp. 1068-1080. | Show Abstract | Read more

For the development of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) vaccines, traditional approaches inducing virus-neutralizing antibodies have so far failed. Thus the effort is now focused on elicitation of cellular immunity. We are currently testing in clinical trials in the United Kingdom and East Africa a T-cell vaccine consisting of HIV-1 clade A Gag-derived immunogen HIVA delivered in a prime-boost regimen by a DNA plasmid and modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA). Here, we describe engineering and preclinical development of a second immunogen RENTA, which will be used in combination with the present vaccine in a four-component DNA/HIVA-RENTA prime-MVA/HIVA-RENTA boost formulation. RENTA is a fusion protein derived from consensus HIV clade A sequences of Tat, reverse transcriptase, Nef and gp41. We inactivated the natural biological activities of the HIV components and confirmed immunogenicities of the pTHr.RENTA and MVA.RENTA vaccines in mice. Furthermore, we demonstrated in mice and rhesus monkeys broadening of HIVA-elicited T-cell responses by a parallel induction of HIVA- and RENTA-specific responses recognizing multiple HIV epitopes.

Estcourt MJ, McMichael AJ, Hanke T. 2004. DNA vaccines against human immunodeficiency virus type 1. Immunol Rev, 199 (1), pp. 144-155. | Show Abstract | Read more

Development of a vaccine against human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) is the main hope for controlling the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome pandemic. An ideal HIV vaccine should induce neutralizing antibodies, CD4+ helper T cells, and CD8+ cytotoxic T cells. While the induction of broadly neutralizing antibodies remains a highly challenging goal, there are a number of technologies capable of inducing potent cell-mediated responses in animal models, which are now starting to be tested in humans. Naked DNA immunization is one of them. This review focuses on the stimulation of HIV-specific T cells and discusses in the context of the current 'state-of-art' of DNA vaccines, the areas where this technology might assist either alone or as a part of more complex vaccine formulations in the HIV vaccine development.

Mwau M, Cebere I, Sutton J, Chikoti P, Winstone N, Wee EG, Beattie T, Chen YH, Dorrell L, McShane H et al. 2004. A human immunodeficiency virus 1 (HIV-1) clade A vaccine in clinical trials: stimulation of HIV-specific T-cell responses by DNA and recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) vaccines in humans. J Gen Virol, 85 (Pt 4), pp. 911-919. | Show Abstract | Read more

The immunogenicities of candidate DNA- and modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA)-vectored human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) vaccines were evaluated on their own and in a prime-boost regimen in phase I clinical trials in healthy uninfected individuals in the United Kingdom. Given the current lack of approaches capable of inducing broad HIV-neutralizing antibodies, the pTHr.HIVA DNA and MVA.HIVA vaccines focus solely on the induction of cell-mediated immunity. The vaccines expressed a common immunogen, HIVA, which consists of consensus HIV-1 clade A Gag p24/p17 proteins fused to a string of clade A-derived epitopes recognized by cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs). Volunteers' fresh peripheral blood mononuclear cells were tested for HIV-specific responses in a validated gamma interferon enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISPOT) assay using four overlapping peptide pools across the Gag domain and three pools of known CTL epitopes present in all of the HIVA protein. Both the DNA and the MVA vaccines alone and in a DNA prime-MVA boost combination were safe and induced HIV-specific responses in 14 out of 18, seven out of eight and eight out of nine volunteers, respectively. These results are very encouraging and justify further vaccine development.

Hanke T. 2004. Prospects for an effective T cell-based immunoprophylaxis against mother-to-child transmission of HIV-1. Folia Biol (Praha), 50 (3-4), pp. 100-106. | Show Abstract

Globally, more than 2000 children under 15 years of age are infected with HIV-1 every day. Some of these infections occur in utero, but the majority of children become infected at delivery and after birth through breast-feeding. While success of antiretroviral therapy dramatically decreased mother-to-child transmission in developed countries, antiretroviral drugs are not yet widely available and bottle-feeding is not an option in economically impoverished countries, where burden of HIV-1 infections is the highest. There, effective accessible HIV-1 vaccines limiting spread of HIV-1 in adults and preventing infection of neonates through breast-feeding are urgently needed. For infant vaccines, given the difficulties in inducing widely cross-reactive HIV-1-neutralizing antibodies, effort has now shifted towards elicitation of cell-mediated immunity, likely in a combination with passively infused neutralizing antibodies and/or chemoprophylaxis. This review discusses prospects of the T-cell approach for development of a paediatric HIV-1 vaccine.

van Harmelen JH, Shephard E, Thomas R, Hanke T, Williamson AL, Williamson C. 2003. Construction and characterisation of a candidate HIV-1 subtype C DNA vaccine for South Africa. Vaccine, 21 (27-30), pp. 4380-4389. | Show Abstract | Read more

A candidate DNA vaccine pTHgagC expressing the immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) gag gene from South African isolate Du422 was constructed and characterised. The isolate was selected on the basis of being the closest to the South African subtype C consensus sequence. Sequence analysis of cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) epitopes showed that HIV subtype C-infected individuals have CTL responses to a number of epitopes present in the vaccine, but also revealed a more limited presence of subtype A- and any B-derived epitopes. A high level of expression of the immunogen was demonstrated in human cells and a potent, long-lived CTL response to a single inoculation of the DNA vaccine was elicited in BALB/c mice, which could be significantly increased by a boost vaccination at 4 weeks. This is the first candidate HIV-1 DNA vaccine employing the South African subtype C sequences, and constitutes a part of a vaccine scheduled to enter a clinical evaluation in South Africa in 2004.

Sharpe S, Hanke T, Tinsley-Bown A, Dennis M, Dowall S, McMichael A, Cranage M. 2003. Mucosal immunization with PLGA-microencapsulated DNA primes a SIV-specific CTL response revealed by boosting with cognate recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara. Virology, 313 (1), pp. 13-21. | Show Abstract | Read more

Systemically administered DNA encoding a recombinant human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) derived immunogen effectively primes a cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) response in macaques. In this further pilot study we have evaluated mucosal delivery of DNA as an alternative priming strategy. Plasmid DNA, pTH.HW, encoding a multi-CTL epitope gene, was incorporated into poly(D,L-lactic-co-glycolic acid) microparticles of less than 10 microm in diameter. Five intrarectal immunizations failed to stimulate a circulating vaccine-specific CTL response in 2 Mamu-A*01(+) rhesus macaques. However, 1 week after intradermal immunization with a cognate modified vaccinia virus Ankara vaccine MVA.HW, CTL responses were detected in both animals that persisted until analysis postmortem, 12 weeks after the final boost. In contrast, a weaker and less durable response was seen in an animal vaccinated with the MVA construct alone. Analysis of lymphoid tissues revealed a disseminated CTL response in peripheral and regional lymph nodes but not the spleen of both mucosally primed animals.

McMichael AJ, Hanke T. 2003. HIV vaccines 1983-2003. Nat Med, 9 (7), pp. 874-880. | Show Abstract | Read more

Twenty years after the discovery of HIV, there is still no vaccine. This year, an envelope vaccine aimed at stimulating neutralizing antibodies was unable to protect against infection in phase 3 trials. But more than 20 HIV vaccines designed to stimulate T-cell responses are being developed. Will any of them work?

Hanke T, Barnfield C, Wee EG, Agren L, Samuel RV, Larke N, Liljeström P. 2003. Construction and immunogenicity in a prime-boost regimen of a Semliki Forest virus-vectored experimental HIV clade A vaccine. J Gen Virol, 84 (Pt 2), pp. 361-368. | Show Abstract | Read more

A novel, experimental subunit human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) vaccine, SFV.HIVA, was constructed. This consists of Semliki Forest virus (SFV), which is a suitable vaccine vector for use in humans, and a passenger gene encoding HIVA, which is an immunogen derived from HIV-1 clade A that is being currently tested in clinical trials of combined DNA- and modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA)-vectored vaccines in Oxford (UK) and Nairobi (Kenya). In the mouse, the SFV.HIVA vaccine was highly immunogenic for T cell-mediated immune responses and induced T cell memory that lasted for at least 6 months. SFV.HIVA was also compared to the vaccines currently used in the clinical trials and was shown to be as effective in T cell induction as pTHr.HIVA DNA but less immunogenic than MVA.HIVA. When tested in a prime-boost regimen, SFV.HIVA-induced responses could be boosted by MVA.HIVA. This work is a part of a long-term effort to build a panel of subunit vaccines expressing a common immunogen, which will allow both a direct comparison of various vaccine vectors and combined vaccination regimens in humans and provide more flexibility and/or a potential optimization of vaccinations for individuals based on their pre-existing anti-vector immunity.

Hanke T. 2003. Development of prophylactic AIDS vaccines: the current state of affairs. Curr Opin Mol Ther, 5 (1), pp. 25-32. | Show Abstract

Despite an urgent need for a prophylactic vaccine against human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) type 1, progress in this area has been slow. The initial euphoria after identifying and sequencing the causative agent of the acquited immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) was followed by a realization that for HIV, traditional vaccine approaches would not be applicable. Frustrations with the induction of neutralizing antibodies led to the development of new vaccine focusing on the induction of cytotoxic T-lymphocytes (CTLs). While CTLs cannot confer sterilizing immunity, there are encouraging data from animal models suggesting that these vaccines may increase the threshold of infection and delay the onset of AIDS in humans. The CTL hypothesis and the possibility that some non-neutralizing antibodies may assist CTLs in the prophylaxis against HIV have yet to be tested in phase III efficacy trials.

Samuel RV, Hanke T. 2003. Construction of MHC class I-peptide tetrameric complexes for analysis of T-cell-mediated immune responses. Methods Mol Med, 87 pp. 279-288. | Read more

Vinner L, Wee EG, Patel S, Corbet S, Gao GP, Nielsen C, Wilson JM, Ertl HC, Hanke T, Fomsgaard A. 2003. Immunogenicity in Mamu-A*01 rhesus macaques of a CCR5-tropic human immunodeficiency virus type 1 envelope from the primary isolate (Bx08) after synthetic DNA prime and recombinant adenovirus 5 boost. J Gen Virol, 84 (Pt 1), pp. 203-213. | Show Abstract | Read more

Envelopes of primary R5-tropic human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) isolates may be particularly relevant for vaccine purposes and should be evaluated for immunogenicity in animals including macaques before carrying out human vaccine trials. In the present study, the immunogenicities of synthetic HIV-1 env DNA vaccines, which had been derived from the early primary isolate Bx08 and contain humanized codons, were evaluated in mice, guinea pigs and rhesus macaques. Neutralization sensitivity of the HIV-1(Bx08) isolate was found to resemble that of other primary isolate prototypes. Immunogenicity of gp120 delivered as codon-optimized DNA vaccine was comparable to that of recombinant gp120 protein plus adjuvant in mice. Similarly, DNA vaccination of guinea pigs with synthetic gp140(Bx08) and gp150(Bx08) DNA induced a strong antibody response independent of the gene construct and DNA immunization route. Mamu-A*01 rhesus macaques were DNA vaccinated with synthetic gp150(Bx08) or gp140(Bx08) DNA and boosted with a replication-deficient recombinant human adenovirus type 5 expressing a synthetic gp120(Bx08) gene. DNA-vaccinated rhesus macaques developed specific CD8+ T lymphocyte responses and anti-rgp120(IIIb) antibody responses. Both the humoral and cellular responses were significantly improved following intramuscular boosting with the recombinant adenovirus. The demonstrated humoral and cellular immunogenicities of these HIV Bx08 Env vaccines in non-human primates encourages their further development as one component in candidate HIV vaccines for humans.

Hanke T, McMichael AJ, Samuel RV, Powell LA, McLoughlin L, Crome SJ, Edlin A. 2002. Lack of toxicity and persistence in the mouse associated with administration of candidate DNA- and modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA)-based HIV vaccines for Kenya. Vaccine, 21 (1-2), pp. 108-114. | Show Abstract | Read more

Toxicity, biodistribution and persistence of candidate HIV vaccines pTHr.HIVA, a recombinant DNA, and MVA.HIVA, a recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara, were determined in the Balb/c mouse. The mice were injected with either two doses of intramuscular pTHr.HIVA DNA (50 microg each, separated by an interval of 14 days), two doses of intradermal MVA.HIVA (10(6) plaque-forming units each, separated by an interval of 14 days), or a combination of the two vaccines, each given in two doses, in a prime-boost regimen. The study showed no significant toxic effects, either local or systemic, under any of these employed dosing regimens. With the exception of the sites of delivery, the vaccine-derived HIVA DNA sequences were undetectable 5 weeks after the last dosing. Thus, both the vaccines alone and in a combination were considered safe and suitable for the use in phase I trials in humans.

Allen TM, Jing P, Calore B, Horton H, O'Connor DH, Hanke T, Piekarczyk M, Ruddersdorf R, Mothé BR, Emerson C et al. 2002. Effects of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) directed against a single simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) Gag CTL epitope on the course of SIVmac239 infection. J Virol, 76 (20), pp. 10507-10511. | Show Abstract | Read more

Vaccine-induced cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) have been implicated in the control of virus replication in simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)-challenged and simian-human immunodeficiency virus-challenged macaques. Therefore, we wanted to test the impact that vaccine-induced CTL responses against an immunodominant Gag epitope might have in the absence of other immune responses. By themselves, these strong CTL responses failed to control SIVmac239 replication.

Mwau M, McMichael AJ, Hanke T. 2002. Design and validation of an enzyme-linked immunospot assay for use in clinical trials of candidate HIV vaccines. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses, 18 (9), pp. 611-618. | Show Abstract | Read more

The enzyme-linked immunosorbent (ELISPOT) assay, which enumerates peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) releasing interferon gamma (IFN-gamma) on specific antigen stimulation, is becoming the assay of choice for evaluation of vaccine-induced cell-mediated immune responses in many clinical trials. A properly conducted trial requires the assays to be validated, especially should the trial lead to vaccine licensure. Here, the design and validation of an ELISPOT assay are described for use in clinical trials of candidate human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) vaccines, using a particular immunogen termed HIVA. This assay employs eight pools of 20 to 23 peptides each: seven pools are derived from the immunogen and one pool is derived from cytotoxic T cell epitopes of common human viruses serving as an internal positive control. The validation determined that first, the overall variation of a positive response of approximately 500 spot-forming units (SFU)/10(6) cells was 21%, while second, the average of 5 SFU/10(6) cells was detected for the seven HIVA-derived pools in HIV-uninfected individuals; third, a positive response to a peptide added to the assay pools was not occluded by the other pool peptides; fourth, the frequencies detected in fresh PBMCs were 2- to 3-fold higher compared with the same samples that had been cryopreserved; and finally, all seven HIV-derived pools induced IFN-gamma responses in PBMCs isolated from HIV-infected individuals. The limits of the validation of assays involving biological responses of living cells are discussed.

Hocknell PK, Wiley RD, Wang X, Evans TG, Bowers WJ, Hanke T, Federoff HJ, Dewhurst S. 2002. Expression of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 gp120 from herpes simplex virus type 1-derived amplicons results in potent, specific, and durable cellular and humoral immune responses. J Virol, 76 (11), pp. 5565-5580. | Show Abstract | Read more

Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) infects a wide range of cells, including dendritic cells. Consequently, HSV-1 vectors may be capable of eliciting strong immune responses to vectored antigens. To test this hypothesis, an HSV-1 amplicon plasmid encoding human immunodeficiency virus type 1 gp120 was constructed, and murine immune responses to helper virus-free amplicon preparations derived from this construct were evaluated. Initial studies revealed that a single intramuscular (i.m.) injection of 10(6) infectious units (i.u.) of HSV:gp120 amplicon particles (HSV:gp120) elicited Env-specific cellular and humoral immune responses. A potent, CD8(+)-T-cell-mediated response to an H-2D(d)-restricted peptide from gp120 (RGPGRAFVTI) was measured by a gamma interferon ELISPOT and was confirmed by standard cytotoxic-T-lymphocyte assays. Immunoglobulin G enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay analysis showed the induction of a strong, Env-specific antibody response. An i.m. or an intradermal administration of HSV:gp120 at the tail base elicited a more potent cellular immune response than did an intraperitoneal (i.p.) inoculation, although an i.p. introduction generated a stronger humoral response. The immune response to HSV:gp120 was durable, with robust cellular and humoral responses persisting at 171 days after a single 10(6)-i.u. inoculation. The immune response to HSV:gp120 was also found to be dose dependent: as few as 10(4) i.u. elicited a strong T-cell response. Finally, HSV:gp120 elicited significant Env-specific cellular immune responses even in animals that had been previously infected with wild-type HSV-1. Taken together, these data strongly support the use of helper-free HSV-1 amplicon particles as vaccine delivery vectors.

Hanke T, McMichael AJ, Mwau M, Wee EG, Ceberej I, Patel S, Sutton J, Tomlinson M, Samuel RV. 2002. Development of a DNA-MVA/HIVA vaccine for Kenya. Vaccine, 20 (15), pp. 1995-1998. | Show Abstract | Read more

Without going into the details of the devastation that human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection causes especially in the developing world, the best hope for changing the course of this epidemic is development of a safe, effective, accessible prophylactic HIV vaccine. While the inaccessibility of potentially neutralising epitopes on primary HIV isolates has hampered the development of envelope-based vaccines, there is a number of new potent technologies capable of inducing high levels of circulating virus-specific CD8(+) cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL). Our original finding that a successive immunisation with DNA and modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) vaccines expressing a common immunogen is a potent way of inducing CD8(+) CTL, which has been since reinforced by us and others, prompted us to test this approach in humans. With the view of proceeding into a high-risk cohort in Kenya for the efficacy trial, we designed the immunogen, termed HIVA, to match the HIV strain responsible locally for over 70% infections. It consists of a consensus clade A gag p24/p17 and a string of clade A-derived CTL epitopes. Pre-clinical studies demonstrated high immunogenicities of both the pTHr.HIVA and MVA.HIVA vaccines. In mice, these induced strong T cells-mediated immune responses which lasted at least 155 days. In rhesus macaques, the prime-boost immunisation elicited T cell responses specific for multiple HIV-derived epitopes. Phase I trials in healthy low-risk volunteers have commenced in Oxford and Nairobi, and the preliminary immunogenicity analysis from the Oxford site indicated that both vaccine components alone induced T cell responses in a majority of volunteers. These results have boosted expectations for the prime-boost vaccinations.

McMichael A, Mwau M, Hanke T. 2002. HIV T cell vaccines, the importance of clades. Vaccine, 20 (15), pp. 1918-1921. | Show Abstract | Read more

Development of an HIV vaccine presents a formidable challenge. One of the unresolved, yet central issues is the importance of HIV variability. Here we argue that even with the recent focus on the induction of T cell-mediated immunity, HIV vaccines should match the local circulating HIV clades. Whether used alone or in a combination with vaccines eliciting HIV-neutralizing antibodies, efforts must be made to develop a T cell vaccine that stimulates a broad and long-lasting response.

McMichael A, Hanke T. 2002. The quest for an AIDS vaccine: is the CD8+ T-cell approach feasible? Nat Rev Immunol, 2 (4), pp. 283-291. | Show Abstract | Read more

The rationale for developing anti-HIV vaccines that stimulate cytotoxic T-lymphocyte responses is given. We argue that such vaccines will work, provided that attention is paid to the development of memory T-cell responses that are strong and preferably activated. Furthermore, the vaccine should match the prevailing virus clade as closely as possible. Vaccines will have to stimulate a wide range of responses, but it is not clear how this can be achieved.

Wee EG, Patel S, McMichael AJ, Hanke T. 2002. A DNA/MVA-based candidate human immunodeficiency virus vaccine for Kenya induces multi-specific T cell responses in rhesus macaques. J Gen Virol, 83 (Pt 1), pp. 75-80. | Show Abstract | Read more

The minimum requirement for candidate human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) vaccines to enter clinical evaluation in humans should be their demonstrable immunogenicity in non-human primates: induction of antibodies neutralizing primary HIV isolates or elicitation of broad T cell-mediated immune responses. Here, we showed in rhesus macaques that the very same vaccines that had entered clinical trials in Oxford and Nairobi, plasmid pTHr.HIVA DNA and recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara MVA.HIVA in a prime-boost protocol (Hanke & McMichael, Nature Medicine 6, 951-955, 2000), induced cellular immune responses specific for multiple HIV-derived epitopes. This was demonstrated by using the intracellular cytokine staining and ELISPOT assays detecting interferon-gamma and pools of peptides employed in the clinical studies. These results have both boosted our expectations for the performance of these vaccines in humans and increased our confidence about the choice of these assays as the primary readouts in the on-going human trials.

McMichael A, Mwau M, Hanke T. 2002. Design and tests of an HIV vaccine. Br Med Bull, 62 (1), pp. 87-98. | Show Abstract | Read more

It is likely that a successful vaccine against HIV will need to stimulate the innate immune system, generate high levels of neutralising antibody, strong cellular immune responses, and mucosal immunity. Early efforts to develop HIV vaccines attempted to use the virus glycoprotein, gp120, to induce neutralising antibody, but did not take into account the trimeric structure of the native glycoprotein or the complex nature of the CD4 and chemokine receptor binding sites. Recently, attention has been focused on cellular immune responses, particularly T-cell cytotoxicity, based on evidence from the SIV model and from exposed and uninfected humans. Recent experiments in macaques and man suggest that a prime boost regimen using DNA and recombinant pox virus is highly effective at stimulating cellular immunity. However, in addition to the problems of generating neutralising antibodies and mucosal immunity, the difficulty of inducing broad cellular responses able to protect against all clades of HIV, remains an important issue.

Wade-Evans AM, Stott J, Hanke T, Stebbings R, Berry N, Lines J, Sangster R, Silvera P, Walker B, MacManus S et al. 2001. Specific proliferative T cell responses and antibodies elicited by vaccination with simian immunodeficiency virus Nef do not confer protection against virus challenge. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses, 17 (16), pp. 1517-1526. | Show Abstract | Read more

The efficacy of immunizing with a combination of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) Nef vaccines was evaluated. Four vaccinates received three intradermal immunizations with recombinant vaccinia virus that expressed SIV Nef, followed by three intramuscular immunizations with rDNA also expressing SIV Nef. Finally, the four vaccinates received two subcutaneous boosts with recombinant SIV Nef protein. This immunization protocol elicited anti-Nef antibodies in all of the vaccinates as well as specific proliferative responses. However, specific cytotoxic T cell responses were not detected before virus challenge. All vaccinates were challenged intravenously with 10 MID(50) of SIVmacJ5 along with four controls. All eight subjects became infected after SIV challenge and there were no group-specific differences in virus load as measured by virus titration and vRNA analysis. The results of this study support indirectly the report from Gallimore and colleagues (Nat Med 1995;1:1667) suggesting that CD8(+) T lymphocyte responses are required for Nef-based vaccines to restrict SIV infection. If Nef-based vaccines are to be beneficial in controlling infection with immunodeficiency viruses, then it will be necessary to develop more effective immunization protocols that elicit potent CD8(+) cell responses reproducibly.

Sharpe S, Polyanskaya N, Dennis M, Sutter G, Hanke T, Erfle V, Hirsch V, Cranage M. 2001. Induction of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)-specific CTL in rhesus macaques by vaccination with modified vaccinia virus Ankara expressing SIV transgenes: influence of pre-existing anti-vector immunity. J Gen Virol, 82 (Pt 9), pp. 2215-2223. | Show Abstract | Read more

A major aim in AIDS vaccine development is the definition of strategies to stimulate strong and durable cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) responses. Here we report that simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)-specific CTL developed in 4/4 macaques following a single intramuscular injection of modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) constructs expressing both structural and regulatory/accessory genes of SIV. In two animals Nef-specific responses persisted, but other responses diminished and new responses were not revealed, following further vaccination. Vaccination of another two macaques, expressing Mamu A*01 MHC class I, with MVA constructs containing nef and gag-pol under the control of the moderate strength natural vaccinia virus early/late promoter P7.5, again induced an early Nef-specific response, whereas responses to Gag remained undetectable. Anti-vector immunity induced by this immunization was shown to prevent the efficient stimulation of CTL directed to the cognate Gag epitope, p11C C-M, following vaccination with another MVA construct expressing SIV Gag-Pol under a strong synthetic vaccinia virus-specific promoter. In contrast, vaccination of a previously unexposed animal resulted in a SIV-specific CTL response widely disseminated in lymphoid tissues including lymph nodes associated with the rectal and genital routes of SIV entry. Thus, despite the highly attenuated nature of MVA, repeated immunization may elicit sufficient anti-vector immunity to limit the effectiveness of later vaccination.

Hanke T. 2001. Vehicles for genetic vaccines against human immunodeficiency virus: induction of T cell-mediated immune responses. Curr Mol Med, 1 (1), pp. 123-135. | Show Abstract | Read more

Success of a candidate vaccine against human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) depends on the type, site, strength, longevity and specificity of the immune responses it induces. The specificity of a vaccine is determined by the HIV-derived immunogens it employs in its formulation. Central to the other features is a correct and efficient delivery of the immunogens to the relevant cells of the immune system, which leads to orchestrated actions of millions of cells of several types and functions at multiple sites in the body. Thus, for elicitation of cytotoxic T lymphocyte responses, immunogens have to be delivered to the so called 'professional' antigen-presenting cells in a way that leads to a specific activation and expansion of naïve or precursor T cells, subsequent maturation of effector functions and, importantly, generation of a potent immunological memory. Many aspects of theseprocesses are currently unknown. However, it is very likely that the immunogenicities of genetic vaccines, i.e. vaccines delivering genes coding for immunogens rather than purified possibly adjuvanted proteins or peptides themselves, are in great part determined by the choice of vaccine vehicles and route of administration. In addition, vaccine immunogenicities can be augmented semi-rationally by immunogen engineering and co-delivering immunomodulatory molecules, and empirically by combining different vehicles expressing the same immunogen in heterologous prime-boost protocols. In any case, a successful vaccination strategy against HIV as well as other chronic viral infections has to elicit better immune responses than the natural infections do.

Hanke T. 2001. Prospect of a prophylactic vaccine for HIV. Br Med Bull, 58 (1), pp. 205-218. | Show Abstract | Read more

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) continues to infect about 15,000 people every day, 90% of whom live in non-industrialised countries. So far, education programmes have only managed to slow, but not cease, the HIV spread, while powerful drug combinations are too costly and complex for the majority of HIV-infected people and in any case fail to clear HIV from the body. Under these circumstances, the best hope for controlling the HIV pandemic is the development of an effective prophylactic vaccine. With a series of new technologies and increased political and financial commitments, a growing momentum in the field of HIV-vaccine development promises exciting years ahead.

Hanke T, McMichael AJ. 2000. Design and construction of an experimental HIV-1 vaccine for a year-2000 clinical trial in Kenya. Nat Med, 6 (9), pp. 951-955. | Read more

McMichael AJ, Callan M, Appay V, Hanke T, Ogg G, Rowland-Jones S. 2000. The dynamics of the cellular immune response to HIV infection: implications for vaccination. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci, 355 (1400), pp. 1007-1011. | Show Abstract | Read more

Recent advances in measuring T-cell responses to viruses have led to new insights into how these T cells respond. In the acute infection there are massive CD8+ T-cell responses to both Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Many of these T cells are effector cells and only a minority appear to be capable of maintaining immunological memory. In persistent virus infections, high levels of antigen-specific effector cells persist. If virus does not persist, the effectors fade in number but memory is maintained and is primed to react rapidly to a new challenge. A vaccine that stimulates only T-cell responses may protect when these memory cells respond rapidly enough to generate high numbers of effectors before the infecting virus becomes established.

Heeney JL, Koopman G, Rosenwirth B, Bogers W, van Dijk J, Nieuwenhuis I, Niphuis H, ten Haaft P, Hanke T, Rhodes G et al. 2000. A vaccine strategy utilizing a combination of three different chimeric vectors which share specific vaccine antigens. J Med Primatol, 29 (3-4), pp. 268-273. | Show Abstract | Read more

A large number of recombinant of viral and bacterial systems have been engineered as vectors to express foreign genes for vaccination and/or gene therapy. A common problem is the immune response to the vector itself. The presence of anti-vector immune responses may preclude sufficient 'priming' or immunogenicity if pre-existing immune responses are present, or they may impair optimal 'boosting' upon repeated immunization or delivery with the same vector. To circumvent this problem we developed a strategy using different chimeric vectors which share only the expression of common specific antigens desired for immunization. This approach not only has the advantage of avoiding increased anti-vector responses, but allows the use of combinations of vectors which could subsequently present the same or related antigen differently to the immune system as well as at alternative sites to induce the optimal type of immunity against the pathogen of interest.

Donahoe SM, Moretto WJ, Samuel RV, Metzner KJ, Marx PA, Hanke T, Connor RI, Nixon DF. 2000. Direct measurement of CD8+ T cell responses in macaques infected with simian immunodeficiency virus. Virology, 272 (2), pp. 347-356. | Show Abstract | Read more

The simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) macaque model system has been used extensively to study AIDS pathogenesis and to test candidate vaccines for their ability to protect against homologous or heterologous challenge with pathogenic SIV or SHIV. Recent studies suggest that stimulation of HIV-1-specific CTL responses is important for effective vaccination against HIV-1. While quantitative measurements of SIV-specific cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) responses have been facilitated by the use of tetrameric peptide complexes, this technique is currently limited to the study of Mamu-A*01-positive rhesus macaques. Furthermore, very few SIV-specific CTL epitopes have been identified, and there is limited identification of other MHC alleles in macaques. In this study, cytokine flow cytometry (CFC) was used to quantify SIV-specific CD8+ antigen-reactive T cells in macaques infected with SIV. We found a strong correlation (r = 0.96, P < 0.001) between CD8+ antigen-reactive T cells stained with the Mamu-A*01 p11C, C-M tetramer and production of intracellular TNF-alpha in the CFC assay. Furthermore, the CFC assay was used to identify a novel SIV-specific CTL epitope in Envelope (SIV Env, a.a. 486-494, sequence AEVAELYRL). The use of the CFC assay facilitates the study of antigen-reactive T cell responses in SIV infection and vaccination.

Allen TM, Vogel TU, Fuller DH, Mothé BR, Steffen S, Boyson JE, Shipley T, Fuller J, Hanke T, Sette A et al. 2000. Induction of AIDS virus-specific CTL activity in fresh, unstimulated peripheral blood lymphocytes from rhesus macaques vaccinated with a DNA prime/modified vaccinia virus Ankara boost regimen. J Immunol, 164 (9), pp. 4968-4978. | Show Abstract

The observed role of CTL in the containment of AIDS virus replication suggests that an effective HIV vaccine will be required to generate strong CTL responses. Because epitope-based vaccines offer several potential advantages for inducing strong, multispecific CTL responses, we tested the ability of an epitope-based DNA prime/modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) boost vaccine to induce CTL responses against a single SIVgag CTL epitope. As assessed using both 51Cr release assays and tetramer staining of in vitro stimulated PBMC, DNA vaccinations administered to the skin with the gene gun induced and progressively increased p11C, C-->M (CTPYDINQM)-specific CD8+ T lymphocyte responses in six of six Mamu-A*01+ rhesus macaques. Tetramer staining of fresh, unstimulated PBMC from two of the DNA-vaccinated animals indicated that as much as 0.4% of all CD3+/CD8alpha+ T lymphocytes were specific for the SIVgag CTL epitope. Administration of MVA expressing the SIVgag CTL epitope further boosted these responses, such that 0.8-20.0% of CD3+/CD8alpha+ T lymphocytes in fresh, unstimulated PBMC were now Ag specific. Enzyme-linked immunospot assays confirmed this high frequency of Ag-specific cells, and intracellular IFN-gamma staining demonstrated that the majority of these cells produced IFN-gamma after peptide stimulation. Moreover, direct ex vivo SIV-specific cytotoxic activity could be detected in PBMC from five of the six DNA/MVA-vaccinated animals, indicating that this epitope-based DNA prime/MVA boost regimen represents a potent method for inducing high levels of functionally active, Ag-specific CD8+ T lymphocytes in non-human primates.

Nixon DF, Donahoe SM, Kakimoto WM, Samuel RV, Metzner KJ, Gettie A, Hanke T, Marx PA, Connor RI. 2000. Simian immunodeficiency virus-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes and protection against challenge in rhesus macaques immunized with a live attenuated simian immunodeficiency virus vaccine. Virology, 266 (1), pp. 203-210. | Show Abstract | Read more

In this study, we examined the role of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) in macaques immunized with an attenuated strain of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIVmac239Deltanef) in protection against pathogenic challenge with SIVmac251. Our results indicate that attenuated SIVmac239Deltanef can elicit specific CTL precursor cells (CTLp), but no correlation was observed between breadth or strength of CTLp response to structural proteins SIV-Env, -Gamg or -Pol (as measured by limiting dilution assay) and protection against infection. In one animal, we longitudinally followed the SIV-Gag-specific response to an MHC class I Mamu-A*01-restricted epitope p11C, C-M using a tetrameric MHC/peptide complex reagent. A low frequency of SIV p11C, C-M peptide-specific tetramer-reactive cells was present at the time of challenge but could be expanded in vitro. Surprisingly, the low level of Mamu-A*01/p11C, C-M-specific CTLs induced through attenuated SIVmac239Deltanef vaccination increased in the absence of detectable SIVmac251 or SIVmac239Deltanef proviral DNA. Overall, our results suggest that protection against infection in this model can be achieved through more than one mechanism, with SIV-specific CTLs being important in controlling SIVmac239Deltanef viral replication postchallenge.

Bruce CB, Akrigg A, Sharpe SA, Hanke T, Wilkinson GW, Cranage MP. 1999. Replication-deficient recombinant adenoviruses expressing the human immunodeficiency virus Env antigen can induce both humoral and CTL immune responses in mice. J Gen Virol, 80 ( Pt 10) (10), pp. 2621-2628. | Show Abstract | Read more

An effective vaccine against infection with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) is thought likely to require both a humoral and a CTL immune response. A non-replicating adenovirus vector system has been developed that can induce both a humoral and CTL response to HIV-1 envelope in mice. It is demonstrated that the stimulatory tat/rev 5' splice-donor site sequence is required for efficient expression of HIV-1 env by this adenovirus vector system. rev can be provided bicistronically or in trans to result in good expression of env in vitro. A humoral immune response was detected after two immunizations with a bicistronic recombinant adenovirus (RAd142). The response was dose dependent, 5x10(7) p.f.u. inducing a response in some, but not all, animals and 1x10(8) p.f.u. giving a consistent antibody response. However, CTLs were induced by the lower dose of virus and after only one immunization with the higher dose. A positive CTL response was also seen consistently when the two monocistronic adenoviruses (RAd501 expressing env and RAd46 expressing rev) were given together, although two immunizations were required to give approximately the same level of response as seen with the bicistronic virus. RAd501 on its own also gave a low CTL response when two immunizations were given. It is suggested that a lower level of env expression is required to produce a CTL response than a humoral response and that this nonreplicating adenovirus vector is a good system for inducing CTL.

Hanke T, Samuel RV, Blanchard TJ, Neumann VC, Allen TM, Boyson JE, Sharpe SA, Cook N, Smith GL, Watkins DI et al. 1999. Effective induction of simian immunodeficiency virus-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes in macaques by using a multiepitope gene and DNA prime-modified vaccinia virus Ankara boost vaccination regimen. J Virol, 73 (9), pp. 7524-7532. | Show Abstract

DNA and modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) are vaccine vehicles suitable and safe for use in humans. Here, by using a multicytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) epitope gene and a DNA prime-MVA boost vaccination regimen, high levels of CTLs specific for a single simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) gag-derived epitope were elicited in rhesus macaques. These vaccine-induced CTLs were capable of killing SIV-infected cells in vitro. Fluorescence-activated cell sorter analysis using soluble tetrameric major histocompatibility complex-peptide complexes showed that the vaccinated animals had 1 to 5% circulating CD8(+) lymphocytes specific for the vaccine epitope, frequencies comparable to those in SIV-infected monkeys. Upon intrarectal challenge with pathogenic SIVmac251, no evidence for protection was observed in at least two of the three vaccinated animals. This study does not attempt to define correlates of protective immunity nor design a protective vaccine against immunodeficiency viruses, but it demonstrates clearly that the DNA prime-MVA boost regimen is an effective protocol for induction of CTLs in macaques. It also shows that powerful tools for studying the role of CTLs in the control of SIV and human immunodeficiency virus infections are now available: epitope-based vaccines, a protocol for an effective induction of CTLs in primates, and a simple and sensitive method for quantitation of epitope-specific T cells. The advantages of the DNA prime-MVA boost regimen as well as the correlations of tetramer staining of peripheral blood lymphocytes with CTL killing in vitro and postchallenge control of viremia are discussed.

McMichael AJ, Hanke T. 1999. Is an HIV vaccine possible? Nat Med, 5 (6), pp. 612-614. | Read more

Kamath AT, Hanke T, Briscoe H, Britton WJ. 1999. Co-immunization with DNA vaccines expressing granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor and mycobacterial secreted proteins enhances T-cell immunity, but not protective efficacy against Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Immunology, 96 (4), pp. 511-516. | Show Abstract | Read more

The development of more effective antituberculosis vaccines would assist in the control of the global problem of infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis. One recent vaccination strategy is immunization with DNA plasmids encoding individual microbial genes. Using the genes for the M. tuberculosis-secreted proteins, MPT64 (23 000 MW) and Ag85B (30 000 MW) as candidate antigens, we previously prepared DNA vaccines and demonstrated their ability to stimulate T-cell responses and confer protection in a mouse model of aerosol tuberculosis (TB). The protective efficacy of the DNA vaccines was less than that promoted by the current vaccine Mycobacterium bovis bacille Calmette-Guèrin (BCG). To improve the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of these mycobacterial vectors, co-immunization of a plasmid expressing granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) was investigated. Intramuscular immunization with DNA expressing MPT64 or Ag85B and GM-CSF enhanced the antigen-specific cellular immune response, with increased proliferative response and production of interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma). The titre of antimycobacterial protein immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies was unchanged. Mice immunized with DNA vaccines showed reduced pulmonary bacterial load following an aerosol challenge of M. tuberculosis, but codelivery of the plasmid expressing GM-CSF did not increase the protective effect. Therefore, despite modifying the cellular immune response to DNA vaccines, GM-CSF does not improve their protective efficacy at the peak of infection after an aerosol challenge with 100 c.f.u. of M. tuberculosis.

Hanke T, McMichael A. 1999. Pre-clinical development of a multi-CTL epitope-based DNA prime MVA boost vaccine for AIDS. Immunol Lett, 66 (1-3), pp. 177-181. | Show Abstract | Read more

Reliable and effective methods for induction of cytotoxic T-lymphocytes (CTL) are constantly persued. Central to this search is work in animal models, which allow to test novel vaccine strategies and ultimately lead to a more efficient planning of clinical trials. Here, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) vaccine candidates were constructed as a string of partially overlapping CTL epitopes (20 human, 3 macaque and 1 mouse) delivered and expressed using plasmid DNA and modified virus Ankara (MVA; an attenuated vaccinia virus), which are both vaccine vehicles acceptable for use in humans. In mice, these vaccines were shown to induce virus-specific interferon-gamma-producing and cytolytic CD8+ T-cells after a single intramuscular needle injection. When immunization protocols were sought which would improve the level of induced HIV-specific T-cells, DNA priming-MVA boosting was found to be the most potent protocol. The multi-epitope DNA also elicited CTL when delivered intradermally using the Accell gene delivery device (gene gun). Finally, a combined intradermal gene gun DNA-MVA vaccination regimen induced in macaques high frequencies of circulating CTL, which were comparable to those observed in simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)-infected monkeys. Further optimization of this method in non-human primates is under way. Thus, a vaccination regimen for an effective elicitation of CTL has been developed which might facilitate evaluation of the role(s) that these lymphocytes play in the control of SIV and HIV infections.

Hanke T, Neumann VC, Blanchard TJ, Sweeney P, Hill AV, Smith GL, McMichael A. 1999. Effective induction of HIV-specific CTL by multi-epitope using gene gun in a combined vaccination regime. Vaccine, 17 (6), pp. 589-596. | Show Abstract | Read more

Reliable and effective induction of cytotoxic T-lymphocytes (CTL) is one of the prime objectives of vaccine research. Previously, novel HIV vaccine candidates were constructed as a string of CTL epitopes (20 human, 3 macaque and 1 mouse) delivered using a DNA vector [Hanke T, Schneider J, Gilbert SG, Hill AVS, McMichael A. DNA multi-CTL epitope vaccines for HIV and Plasmodium falciparum: immunogenicity in mice. Vaccine 1998;16:426-435.] or modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA [Hanke T, Blanchard TJ, Schneider J, Ogg GS, Tan R, Becker MSC, Gilbert SG, Hill AVS, Smith GL, McMichael A. Immunogenicities of intravenous and intramuscular administrations of MVA-based multi-CTL epitope vaccine for HIV in mice. J Gen Virol 1998;79:83-90.]), i.e. vaccine vehicles acceptable for use in humans. In mice, a single intramuscular (i.m.) needle injection of either vaccine alone elicited good CTL responses. Here, it is demonstrated that the multi-epitope DNA also induced CTL when delivered intradermally using the Accell gene gun. The CTL responses increased after re-immunization and after three deliveries were comparable to those induced by a single i.m. injection. Recent evidence indicates that combining routes and vaccine vehicles enhances the immunogenicity of vaccine-delivered or -encoded antigens. Here, it is shown that administration of DNA by an i.m. priming/gene gun boosting more efficiently induced CTL than gene gun priming/i.m. boosting. A similar increment was obtained by sequential vaccinations using a gene gun-delivered DNA followed by recombinant MVA. Thus particular sequences of routes or vaccine vehicles rather than simple prime-boost delivery of a single vaccine is critical for an effective elicitation of CTL.

Schneider J, Gilbert SC, Blanchard TJ, Hanke T, Robson KJ, Hannan CM, Becker M, Sinden R, Smith GL, Hill AV. 1998. Enhanced immunogenicity for CD8+ T cell induction and complete protective efficacy of malaria DNA vaccination by boosting with modified vaccinia virus Ankara. Nat Med, 4 (4), pp. 397-402. | Show Abstract | Read more

Immunization with irradiated sporozoites can protect against malaria infection and intensive efforts are aimed at reproducing this effect with subunit vaccines. A particular sequence of subunit immunization with pre-erythrocytic antigens of Plasmodium berghei, consisting of single dose priming with plasmid DNA followed by a single boost with a recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) expressing the same antigen, induced unprecedented complete protection against P. berghei sporozoite challenge in two strains of mice. Protection was associated with very high levels of splenic peptide-specific interferon-gamma-secreting CD8+ T cells and was abrogated when the order of immunization was reversed. DNA priming followed by MVA boosting may provide a general immunization regime for induction of high levels of CD8+ T cells.

Hanke T, Blanchard TJ, Schneider J, Hannan CM, Becker M, Gilbert SC, Hill AV, Smith GL, McMichael A. 1998. Enhancement of MHC class I-restricted peptide-specific T cell induction by a DNA prime/MVA boost vaccination regime. Vaccine, 16 (5), pp. 439-445. | Show Abstract | Read more

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) vaccine candidates were previously constructed as a string of cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) epitopes delivered and expressed using DNA and modified virus Ankara (MVA; an attenuated vaccinia virus) vectors. These vaccines were shown to induce interferon (IFN)-gamma-producing and cytolytic CD8+ T cells after a single vaccine administration. In the course of this work, immunization protocols were sought which would improve the levels of induced HIV-specific T cells. It was found that previous immunological exposure to MVA reduced the efficiency of subsequent priming and boosting using the same vaccine vehicle. However, a combined regime whereby the animals were first primed with the DNA vaccine and then boosted with MVA was the most potent protocol for the induction of both interferon-gamma-producing and cytolytic T cells against two CTL epitopes simultaneously. The general applicability of this novel vaccination method for induction of major histocompatibility complex class I-restricted T cells is discussed.

Hanke T, Schneider J, Gilbert SC, Hill AV, McMichael A. 1998. DNA multi-CTL epitope vaccines for HIV and Plasmodium falciparum: immunogenicity in mice. Vaccine, 16 (4), pp. 426-435. | Show Abstract | Read more

The potential of building multi-cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) epitope antigens in combination with the nucleic acid immunization technology is explored for development of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and malaria vaccines. A novel minimal vector pTH for direct gene transfer was constructed for efficient expression of vaccine antigens and used as a vehicle for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)- and Plasmodium falciparum-derived polyepitope genes. Two murine epitopes were included into these constructs to allow for testing of vaccine immunogenicity in small animals. The results showed that a single DNA injection generated CTL responses in all 15 vaccinated mice. The elicited CTL precursor frequencies were estimated in an interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma)-based ELISPOT assay and found to be an average of 300 (range 4-1346) peptide-responding cells per 10(6) splenocytes.

Hanke T, Blanchard TJ, Schneider J, Ogg GS, Tan R, Becker M, Gilbert SC, Hill AV, Smith GL, McMichael A. 1998. Immunogenicities of intravenous and intramuscular administrations of modified vaccinia virus Ankara-based multi-CTL epitope vaccine for human immunodeficiency virus type 1 in mice. J Gen Virol, 79 ( Pt 1) (1), pp. 83-90. | Show Abstract | Read more

A vaccine against human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is still awaited. Although the correlates of protection remain elusive, it is likely that CD8+ T cells play an important role in the control of this infection. To firmly establish the importance of these cells in protective immunity, a means of efficient elicitation of CD8+ T cell responses in the absence of antibody is needed and, when available, might represent a crucial step towards a protective vaccine. Here, a novel vaccine candidate was constructed as a multi-cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) epitope gene delivered and expressed using modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA). The immunogen consists of 20 human, one murine and three rhesus macaque epitopes. The non-human epitopes were included so that the vaccine can be tested for immunogenicity and optimal vaccination doses, routes and regimes in experimental animals. Mice were immunized intravenously (i.v.) or intramuscularly (i.m.) using a single dose of 10(6) p.f.u. of the recombinant MVA and the induction of CTL was assessed. It was demonstrated that both administration routes induced specific CTL responses and that the i.v. route was moderately more immunogenic than the i.m. route. The frequencies of ex vivo splenocytes producing interferon-y upon MHC class I-restricted peptide stimulation were determined using an ELISPOT assay. Also, the correct processing and presentation of some HLA-restricted epitopes in human cells was confirmed.

Hanke T, Randall RE. 1995. Variable domain sequences of mAb with high affinity for a linear oligopeptide. Immunogenetics, 42 (5), pp. 442-443. | Read more

Hanke T, Young DF, Doyle C, Jones I, Randall RE. 1995. Attachment of an oligopeptide epitope to the C-terminus of recombinant SIV gp160 facilitates the construction of SMAA complexes while preserving CD4 binding. J Virol Methods, 53 (1), pp. 149-156. | Show Abstract | Read more

A small 14 amino acid oligopeptide tag (termed SV5-Pk) was fused onto the carboxy-terminus of simian immunodeficiency virus gp160 expressed from a recombinant baculovirus. The presence of the Pk tag had no obvious effect on the expression and glycosylation of gp160 and did not interfere either with CD4 binding or with cleavage at its maturation site by the protease furin. The presence of the Pk tag did, however, facilitate the simplified purification of full-length gp160 and its incorporation into immunogenic solid matrix-antibody-antigen (SMAA) complexes.

HANKE T, RANDALL R, GALLIMORE A, GOTCH F, MCMICHAEL A, STOTT J. 1995. SIV INFECTION OF CYNOMOLGUS MACAQUES - ANALYSIS OF CTL DURING THE EARLY PHASE OF INFECTION, AND IMMUNIZATION PROTECTION EXPERIMENT USING RECOMBINANT SIV PROTEINS AS SOLID MATRIX-ANTIBODY-ANTIGEN (SMAA) JOURNAL OF CELLULAR BIOCHEMISTRY, pp. 220-220.

Hanke T, Botting C, Green EA, Szawlowski PW, Rud E, Randall RE. 1994. Expression and purification of nonglycosylated SIV proteins, and their use in induction and detection of SIV-specific immune responses. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses, 10 (6), pp. 665-674. | Show Abstract | Read more

Two commercially available expression vectors were modified to generate plasmids pGEXcPk and pQ9cPk. Proteins expressed from pGEXcPk and pQ9cPk had a short oligopeptide tag termed Pk at their carboxy termini and either glutathione S-transferase (GST) or a small histidine (His) tag, respectively, at their N termini. GST fusion proteins can be purified on immobilized glutathione and proteins coupled to the His tag selectively bind to Ni(2+)-NTA columns. The Pk tag is recognized by monoclonal antibody (MAb) SV5-P-k, previously produced in our laboratory. Thus proteins expressed from the pGEXcPk and pQ9cPk vectors can be purified in a two-step procedure, first via the N-terminal tag and second via the C-terminal tag. The combination of two affinity purification steps significantly improves the antigen purity and selects for full-size proteins. Moreover, by using the MAbSV5-P-k in the second purification step, Pk-linked antigens can be assembled directly into solid matrix-antibody-antigen (SMAA) complexes for use as vaccines. The genes for nef, endonuclease, p15, p17, p27, protease, Rev, reverse transcriptase (rt), tat, vif, vpr, and vpx of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV mac 251) were cloned and expressed as both GST-SIV-Pk and His-SIV-Pk proteins. Multivalent SMAA complexes were made that contained His-p17-Pk, His-p27-Pk, His-rt-Pk, His-vpx-Pk, and His-vpr-Pk. Following two immunizations of mice with this mixture, antibodies could be detected to all five SIV antigens. When compared to single-protein immunizations, the immunogenicity of some of the proteins in this cocktail was either enhanced or decreased. Mice were also immunized with His-p17-Pk or His-p17-Pk-antibody complexes in the presence or absence of alum. The antibody-antigen complexes induced two- to four-fold higher antibody levels than antigen alone but did not appear to be more immunogenic in inducing lymphoproliferative responses. Sera from SIV-infected macaques were tested for the presence of antibodies reacting with the recombinant proteins by Western blot analysis. Antibodies to endonuclease, p15, p17, p27, rt, and vif were readily detected, antibodies against protease and vpx were present at much lower levels, but no antibodies were detected to nef, rev, tat, or vpr. Thus, we have developed a comprehensive range of reagents (available on request) that can be used to examine immune responses to SIV in both mice and monkeys.

Randall RE, Young D, Hanke T, Szawlowski P, Botting C. 1994. Purification of antibody-antigen complexes containing recombinant SIV proteins: comparison of antigen and antibody-antigen complexes for immune priming. Vaccine, 12 (4), pp. 351-358. | Show Abstract | Read more

This paper describes a general procedure for the two-step purification of recombinant proteins as antibody-antigen complexes in which there is no uncomplexed antibody or antigen. In this way, immune complexes containing the p17, p27, vpr and vpx proteins of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) have been purified. Antibody-antigen complexes are more immunogenic than antigen when administered either alone or with alum. The significance of the work is that this general method could be modified for the manufacture of immune complexes for incorporation into multivalent vaccines.

HANKE T, RANDALL R. 1994. PROCESSING OF VIRAL-PROTEINS FOR PRESENTATION BY MOLECULES OF THE MAJOR HISTOCOMPATIBILITY COMPLEX REVIEWS IN MEDICAL VIROLOGY, 4 (1), pp. 47-61. | Read more

Randall RE, Hanke T, Young D, Southern JA. 1993. Two-tag purification of recombinant proteins for the construction of solid matrix-antibody-antigen (SMAA) complexes as vaccines. Vaccine, 11 (12), pp. 1247-1252. | Show Abstract | Read more

In order to facilitate the purification of recombinant proteins for immunization purposes, for example through the construction of solid matrix-antibody-antigen (SMAA) complexes, two small but different tag sequences were attached to the N- and C-termini of recombinant proteins. The 12-amino-acid N-terminal tag (His) contained an array of six histidines which permitted first-step purification by nickel-affinity column chromatography. The C-terminal tag (Pk) was a 14-amino-acid oligopeptide recognized by the monoclonal antibody (mAb) SV5-P-k. The mAb SV5-P-k was linked to a solid matrix and the solid matrix-antibody complexes were saturated with PK-linked recombinant antigens to generate SMAA complexes. The procedure used for construction of the SMAA complexes also acted as a second purification step. Neither of the tag sequences was cleaved from the recombinant proteins before immunization. This two-step purification procedure was used to construct SMAA complexes containing either p17 or reverse transcriptase (rt) of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV). Mice immunized with these complexes had high antibody titres recognizing both the respective recombinant and native SIV proteins. A weak antibody response was also measured against both the terminal tags. The advantages of using simple dual purification procedures for isolating tag-linked recombinant proteins for use in vaccines are discussed.

Zheng B, Graham FL, Johnson DC, Hanke T, McDermott MR, Prevec L. 1993. Immunogenicity in mice of tandem repeats of an epitope from herpes simplex gD protein when expressed by recombinant adenovirus vectors. Vaccine, 11 (12), pp. 1191-1198. | Show Abstract | Read more

The antigenic and immunogenic potential was examined of human adenovirus type 5 (Ad) recombinants carrying and expressing from one to four tandem repeats of a linear neutralizing epitope from the gD protein of herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) as a fusion with the beta-galactosidase protein. The fusion proteins produced by these Ad vectors in infected cell culture reacted with a herpes simplex virus (HSV) epitope-specific monoclonal antibody to a degree dependent on the number of epitope repeats in the protein. Mice immunized by intraperitoneal injection of the Ad vectors developed an anti-HSV immune response as measured by ELISA and by HSV-1 neutralization assays. The mean antibody titre induced by a single injection of the Ad vector increased with the number of epitope repeats expressed by the recombinant. Any animal that had developed a serum-neutralizing titre of at least 1:80 survived challenge with a normally lethal dose of HSV-2 administered by the intraperitoneal route. Recombinant vectors expressing four repeats of the HSV epitope were as effective in antibody induction and protection as an adenovirus vector carrying and expressing the entire HSV gD protein. These results suggest that the expression of tandem repeats of appropriate epitopic sequences by adenovirus vectors may provide a safe and effective method of immunizing against HSV infection.

Szawlowski PW, Hanke T, Randall RE. 1993. Sequence homology between HIV-1 gp120 and the apoptosis mediating protein Fas. AIDS, 7 (7), pp. 1018. | Read more

Hanke T, Szawlowski P, Randall RE. 1992. Construction of solid matrix-antibody-antigen complexes containing simian immunodeficiency virus p27 using tag-specific monoclonal antibody and tag-linked antigen. J Gen Virol, 73 ( Pt 3) (3), pp. 653-660. | Show Abstract | Read more

We have previously shown that immunization with solid matrix-antigen-antibody (SMAA) complexes induces both vigorous humoral and cell-mediated immune responses and have suggested that this method of vaccination may be developed for use in humans, and potentially as a vaccine against AIDS. Here we demonstrate that a small oligopeptide can act as a tag for the construction of SMAA complexes using a tag-specific monoclonal antibody and tag-linked antigens. We show that a 14-amino acid oligopeptide, present in the phospho (P) and V proteins of simian virus 5 (SV5), retains its antigenicity when attached to the C terminus of three 'foreign' proteins [p27 and gp110 of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) and glutathione S-transferase] such that these proteins can be incorporated into SMAA complexes using a monoclonal antibody (MAb) that was originally raised against the native SV5 P and V proteins. Mice were immunized with SMAA complexes containing recombinant p27-TAG and MAbs have been isolated that recognized native SIV p27. The significance of these results in terms of the development of SMAA complexes as human vaccines is discussed.

Hanke T, Graham FL, Rosenthal KL, Johnson DC. 1991. Identification of an immunodominant cytotoxic T-lymphocyte recognition site in glycoprotein B of herpes simplex virus by using recombinant adenovirus vectors and synthetic peptides. J Virol, 65 (3), pp. 1177-1186. | Show Abstract

Cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) responses to herpes simplex virus (HSV) polypeptides play an important role in recovery from infection and in preventing latency. We have previously shown that glycoprotein B (gB) is a major target recognized by HSV-specific CTLs in C57BL/6 (H-2b) and BALB/c (H-2d) mice but not in CBA/J (H-2k) mice (L. A. Witmer, K. L. Rosenthal, F. L. Graham, H. M. Friedman, A. Yee, and D. C. Johnson, J. Gen. Virol. 71:387-396, 1990). In this report, we utilize adenovirus vectors expressing gB with various deletions to localize an immunodominant site in gB, recognized by H-2b-restricted anti-HSV CTLs, to a region between residues 462 and 594. Overlapping peptides spanning this region were synthesized and used to further localize the immunodominant site to residues 489 to 515, a region highly conserved in HSV type 1 (HSV-1) and HSV-2 strains. The 11-amino-acid peptide was apparently associated exclusively with the Kb major histocompatibility complex gene product and not the Db gene product. In contrast, H-2d-restricted CTLs recognized an immunodominant site between residues 233 and 379.

Hanke T, Graham FL, Lulitanond V, Johnson DC. 1990. Herpes simplex virus IgG Fc receptors induced using recombinant adenovirus vectors expressing glycoproteins E and I. Virology, 177 (2), pp. 437-444. | Show Abstract | Read more

Evidence has been presented that herpes simplex virus (HSV) immunoglobulin (IgG) Fc receptors are composed of a complex of two glycoproteins, gE and gI. In previous studies, cells infected with HSV-1 mutants lacking either gE or gI bound lower levels of soluble IgG than cells infected with wild-type viruses suggesting that both gE and gI were required for IgG binding. We have reevaluated the Fc receptor activity of these mutants using a more sensitive assay involving IgG-coated erythrocytes and have found that cells infected with a gE- mutant HSV-1 did not bind IgG-coated erythrocytes whereas cells infected with a gI- mutant retained some Fc binding activity. To further study HSV-induced Fc receptors recombinant adenovirus vectors expressing gE or gI were constructed. Cells expressing gE alone bound both soluble IgG and IgG-coated red cells, although the binding was consistently lower than that observed with HSV-infected cells or cells expressing both gE and gI. Cells expressing only gI were unable to bind either soluble IgG or IgG-coated erythrocytes. These results support the conclusion that both gE and gI are required for full Fc receptor activity, although gE alone can bind IgG to a lesser extent.

McDermott MR, Graham FL, Hanke T, Johnson DC. 1989. Protection of mice against lethal challenge with herpes simplex virus by vaccination with an adenovirus vector expressing HSV glycoprotein B. Virology, 169 (1), pp. 244-247. | Show Abstract | Read more

Increasing attention has been focused on the use of recombinant mammalian viruses as potential vaccines. Recombinant human adenoviruses are one of the more promising vaccine vectors because they can be easily constructed and because live adenovirus vaccines have been administered orally to large numbers of military recruits without adverse reactions. In order to examine the efficacy of human adenoviruses as vaccines we have studied the immunity induced by a recombinant adenovirus vector, AdgB2, which induces high level expression of herpes simplex virus (HSV) glycoprotein B (gB) in human and murine cells. Mice inoculated with AdgB2 produced antibodies specific for gB which neutralized HSV in the presence of complement. Although mice inoculated with AdgB2 showed no ill-effects after AdgB2 inoculation and we were unable to detect replication of human adenoviruses in mice, the mice were protected from a lethal challenge with HSV after a single inoculation with AdgB2.

Hanke T, Tyers M, Harley CB. 1988. Metallothionein RNA levels in HL-60 cells. Effect of cadmium, differentiation, and protein kinase C activation. FEBS Lett, 241 (1-2), pp. 159-163. | Show Abstract | Read more

Metallothionein (MT) gene transcription is regulated in a developmental and tissue-specific manner by metal ions and other agents. We examined MT expression in the human promyelocytic leukemia cell line HL-60 during differentiation along macrophage and neutrophil lineages. All HL-60 phenotypes showed similar basal levels of MT RNA with significant induction following exposure to Cd2+ but not activators of PKC. MT RNA did not correlate with growth state or with known levels of PKC activity, thus our data do not support a role for MT in HL-60 differentiation or for PKC in MT expression.

Fox JE, Kostolanska F, Daniel EE, Allescher HD, Hanke T. 1987. Mechanisms of excitatory actions of neurotensin on canine small intestinal circular muscle in vivo and in vitro. Can J Physiol Pharmacol, 65 (11), pp. 2254-2259. | Show Abstract | Read more

We have shown previously that close intra-arterial injections of neurotensin in vivo inhibited phasic activity induced by field stimulation of the canine small intestine during anaesthesia but had little effect during quiescence. In contrast, in vitro in the present study, full thickness strips of the muscularis externa cut in the circular axis responded to the lowest effective neurotensin concentrations (10(-12) to 10(-9) M) with an increase in frequency and amplitude of spontaneous contractions; as the concentration was increased from 10(-8) to 10(-7) M, neurotensin inhibited spontaneous activity. A small tonic contraction also occurred; it was maximal at 10(-7) M. Since sufficient tetrodotoxin to block field-stimulated nerve responses did not significantly reduce any of these responses in vitro, the neurotensin responses in vitro did not appear to involve actions on nerves. Indomethacin did not alter the excitatory response to 10(-11) M neurotensin but 5,8,11,14-eicosatetraynoic acid inhibited the excitatory response in a reversible fashion, without altering the response to acetylcholine. Thus excitation in vitro may require the release of excitatory metabolites of arachidonic acid via the lipoxygenase pathway. The neurotensin response in vivo was further studied by evaluating its actions against repetitive submaximal contractions induced by intra-arterial injections of acetylcholine given every minute. Doses that produced a short inhibition of the field-stimulated activity (10(-11) to 10(-10) mol intra-arterially) did not produce inhibition but 10(-10) mol significantly increased the response to acetylcholine. Higher doses (10(-9) mol) produced a significant inhibition of the first subsequent acetylcholine dose but no enhancement of later doses.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Borthwick N, Lin Z, Akahoshi T, Llano A, Silva-Arrieta S, Ahmed T, Dorrell L, Brander C, Murakoshi H, Takiguchi M, Hanke T. 2017. Novel, in-natural-infection subdominant HIV-1 CD8+ T-cell epitopes revealed in human recipients of conserved-region T-cell vaccines. PLoS One, 12 (4), pp. e0176418. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Fine definition of targeted CD8+ T-cell epitopes and their human leucocyte antigen (HLA) class I restriction informs iterative improvements of HIV-1 T-cell vaccine designs and may predict early vaccine success or failure. Here, lymphocytes from volunteers, who had received candidate HIVconsv vaccines expressing conserved sub-protein regions of HIV-1, were used to define the optimum-length target epitopes and their HLA restriction. In HIV-1-positive patients, CD8+ T-cell responses predominantly recognize immunodominant, but hypervariable and therefore less protective epitopes. The less variable, more protective epitopes in conserved regions are typically subdominant. Therefore, induction of strong responses to conserved regions by vaccination provides an opportunity to discover novel important epitopes. METHODS: Cryopreserved lymphocytes from vaccine recipients were expanded by stimulation with 15-mer responder peptides for 10 days to establish short term-cell-line (STCL) effector cells. These were subjected to intracellular cytokine staining using serially truncated peptides and peptide-pulsed 721.221 cells expressing individual HLA class I alleles to define minimal epitope length and HLA restriction by stimulation of IFN-γ and TNF-α production and surface expression of CD107a. RESULTS: Using lymphocyte samples of 12 vaccine recipients, we defined 14 previously unreported optimal CD8+ T-cell HIV-1 epitopes and their four-digit HLA allele restriction (6 HLA-A, 7 HLA-B and 1 HLA-C alleles). Further 13 novel targets with incomplete information were revealed. CONCLUSIONS: The high rate of discovery of novel CD8+ T-cell effector epitopes warrants further epitope mining in recipients of the conserved-region vaccines in other populations and informs development of HIV-1/AIDS vaccines. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01151319.

Ondondo B, Murakoshi H, Clutton G, Abdul-Jawad S, Wee EG, Gatanaga H, Oka S, McMichael AJ, Takiguchi M, Korber B, Hanke T. 2016. Novel Conserved-region T-cell Mosaic Vaccine With High Global HIV-1 Coverage Is Recognized by Protective Responses in Untreated Infection. Mol Ther, 24 (4), pp. 832-842. | Show Abstract | Read more

An effective human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) vaccine is the best solution for halting the acquired immune deficiency syndrome epidemic. Here, we describe the design and preclinical immunogenicity of T-cell vaccine expressing novel immunogens tHIVconsvX, vectored by DNA, simian (chimpanzee) adenovirus, and poxvirus modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA), a combination highly immunogenic in humans. The tHIVconsvX immunogens combine the three leading strategies for elicitation of effective CD8(+) T cells: use of regions of HIV-1 proteins functionally conserved across all M group viruses (to make HIV-1 escape costly on viral fitness), inclusion of bivalent complementary mosaic immunogens (to maximize global epitope matching and breadth of responses, and block common escape paths), and inclusion of epitopes known to be associated with low viral load in infected untreated people (to induce field-proven protective responses). tHIVconsvX was highly immunogenic in two strains of mice. Furthermore, the magnitude and breadth of CD8(+) T-cell responses to tHIVconsvX-derived peptides in treatment-naive HIV-1(+) patients significantly correlated with high CD4(+) T-cell count and low viral load. Overall, the tHIVconsvX design, combining the mosaic and conserved-region approaches, provides an indisputably better coverage of global HIV-1 variants than previous T-cell vaccines. These immunogens delivered in a highly immunogenic framework of adenovirus prime and MVA boost are ready for clinical development.

Ahmed T, Borthwick NJ, Gilmour J, Hayes P, Dorrell L, Hanke T. 2016. Control of HIV-1 replication in vitro by vaccine-induced human CD8(+) T cells through conserved subdominant Pol epitopes. Vaccine, 34 (9), pp. 1215-1224. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVE: The specificity of CD8(+) T cells is critical for early control of founder/transmitted and reactivated HIV-1. To tackle HIV-1 variability and escape, we designed vaccine immunogen HIVconsv assembled from 14 highly conserved regions of mainly Gag and Pol proteins. When administered to HIV-1-negative human volunteers in trial HIV-CORE 002, HIVconsv vaccines elicited CD8(+) effector T cells which inhibited replication of up to 8 HIV-1 isolates in autologous CD4(+) cells. This inhibition correlated with interferon-γ production in response to Gag and Pol peptide pools, but direct evidence of the inhibitory specificity was missing. Here, we aimed to define through recognition of which epitopes these effectors inhibit HIV-1 replication. DESIGN: CD8(+) T-cells from the 3 broadest HIV-1 inhibitors out of 23 vaccine recipients were expanded in culture by Gag or Pol peptide restimulation and tested in viral inhibition assay (VIA) using HIV-1 clade B and A isolates. METHODS: Frozen PBMCs were expanded first using peptide pools from Gag or Pol conserved regions and tested on HIV-1-infected cells in VIA or by individual peptides for their effector functions. Single peptide specificities responsible for inhibition of HIV-1 replication were then confirmed by single-peptide expanded effectors tested on HIV-1-infected cells. RESULTS: We formally demonstrated that the vaccine-elicited inhibitory human CD8(+) T cells recognized conserved epitopes of both Pol and Gag proteins. We defined 7 minimum epitopes, of which 3 were novel, presumably naturally subdominant. The effectors were oligofunctional producing several cytokines and chemokines and killing peptide-pulsed target cells. CONCLUSIONS: These results implicate the use of functionally conserved regions of Pol in addition to the widely used Gag for T-cell vaccine design. Proportion of volunteers developing these effectors and their frequency in circulating PBMC are separate issues, which can be addressed, if needed, by more efficient vector and regimen delivery of conserved immunogens.

Mutua G, Farah B, Langat R, Indangasi J, Ogola S, Onsembe B, Kopycinski JT, Hayes P, Borthwick NJ, Ashraf A et al. 2016. Broad HIV-1 inhibition in vitro by vaccine-elicited CD8(+) T cells in African adults. Mol Ther Methods Clin Dev, 3 pp. 16061. | Show Abstract | Read more

We are developing a pan-clade HIV-1 T-cell vaccine HIVconsv, which could complement Env vaccines for prophylaxis and be a key to HIV cure. Our strategy focuses vaccine-elicited effector T-cells on functionally and structurally conserved regions (not full-length proteins and not only epitopes) of the HIV-1 proteome, which are common to most global variants and which, if mutated, cause a replicative fitness loss. Our first clinical trial in low risk HIV-1-negative adults in Oxford demonstrated the principle that naturally mostly subdominant epitopes, when taken out of the context of full-length proteins/virus and delivered by potent regimens involving combinations of simian adenovirus and poxvirus modified vaccinia virus Ankara, can induce robust CD8(+) T cells of broad specificities and functions capable of inhibiting in vitro HIV-1 replication. Here and for the first time, we tested this strategy in low risk HIV-1-negative adults in Africa. We showed that the vaccines were well tolerated and induced high frequencies of broadly HIVconsv-specific plurifunctional T cells, which inhibited in vitro viruses from four major clades A, B, C, and D. Because sub-Saharan Africa is globally the region most affected by HIV-1/AIDS, trial HIV-CORE 004 represents an important stage in the path toward efficacy evaluation of this highly rational and promising vaccine strategy.

Ternette N, Block PD, Sánchez-Bernabéu Á, Borthwick N, Pappalardo E, Abdul-Jawad S, Ondondo B, Charles PD, Dorrell L, Kessler BM, Hanke T. 2015. Early Kinetics of the HLA Class I-Associated Peptidome of MVA.HIVconsv-Infected Cells. J Virol, 89 (11), pp. 5760-5771. | Show Abstract | Read more

UNLABELLED: Cytotoxic T cells substantially contribute to the control of intracellular pathogens such as human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). Here, we evaluated the immunopeptidome of Jurkat cells infected with the vaccine candidate MVA.HIVconsv, which delivers HIV-1 conserved antigenic regions by using modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA). We employed liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) to identify 6,358 unique peptides associated with the class I human leukocyte antigen (HLA), of which 98 peptides were derived from the MVA vector and 7 were derived from the HIVconsv immunogen. Human vaccine recipients responded to the peptide sequences identified by LC-MS/MS. Peptides derived from the conserved HIV-1 regions were readily detected as early as 1.5 h after MVA.HIVconsv infection. Four of the seven conserved peptides were monitored between 0 and 3.5 h of infection by using quantitative mass spectrometry (Q-MS), and their abundance in HLA class I associations reflected levels of the whole HIVconsv protein in the cell. While immunopeptides delivered by the incoming MVA vector proteins could be detected, all early HIVconsv-derived immunopeptides were likely synthesized de novo. MVA.HIVconsv infection generally altered the composition of HLA class I-associated human (self) peptides, but these changes corresponded only partially to changes in the whole cell host protein abundance. IMPORTANCE: The vast changes in cellular antigen presentation after infection of cells with a vectored vaccine, as shown here for MVA.HIVconsv, highlight the complexity of factors that need to be considered for efficient antigen delivery and presentation. Identification and quantitation of HLA class I-associated peptides by Q-MS will not only find broad application in T-cell epitope discovery but also inform vaccine design and allow evaluation of efficient epitope presentation using different delivery strategies.

Clutton G, Carpov A, Parks CL, Dean HJ, Montefiori DC, Hanke T. 2014. Optimizing parallel induction of HIV type 1-specific antibody and T-cell responses by multicomponent subunit vaccines. AIDS, 28 (17), pp. 2495-2504. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVES: Protection against HIV type 1 (HIV-1) infection/AIDS will likely require concerted actions of protective CD8(+) killer T cells and protective antibodies. The challenges in inducing such effectors by active immunization are such that the T-cell and antibody vaccine components require separate development. Here, a rational attempt is taken to combine two separately optimized heterologous regimens into a single T-cell-inducing and antibody-inducing vaccination schedule with minimal induction of unprotective Env-specific T cells. DESIGN: Clade A BG505 Env-derived uncleaved gp140 (BG505u) and conserved region tHIVc immunogens were utilized and presented to the immune system using non-replicating simian (chimpanzee) adenovirus ChAdV-63 (C) and poxvirus-modified vaccinia virus Ankara MVA (M). In addition, purified BG505 gp120 (P) was used for antibody induction. METHODS: BALB/c mice were vaccinated to elicit Env antibodies alone using ChAdV63.BG505u. MVA.BG505u and BG505 gp120 in regimens CMP, CPP and PPP, and in combination with the ChAdV63.tHIVc and MVA.tHIVc components in regimens CMP+CMM, CPP+CMM and PPP+CMM. Antibody and T-cell responses to BG505 Env and conserved regions of the HIV-1 proteome were determined. RESULTS: Although all three regimens delivering BG505 Env induced similar levels of antibodies, BG505-specific T cells were induced in the CMP>CPP>PPP hierarchy, which was maintained during coinduction of tHIVc-specific T cells. Adjuvanted BG505 PPP decreased induction of tHIVc-specific T cells and tHIVc T-cell induction decreased induction of BG505 Ab. As expected, the antibodies that were induced neutralized tier 1 HIV-1 strains. CONCLUSION: These results inform designs of initial human studies combining separately optimized T-cell and B-cell HIV-1 vaccines into a single regimen.

Njuguna IN, Ambler G, Reilly M, Ondondo B, Kanyugo M, Lohman-Payne B, Gichuhi C, Borthwick N, Black A, Mehedi SR et al. 2014. PedVacc 002: a phase I/II randomized clinical trial of MVA.HIVA vaccine administered to infants born to human immunodeficiency virus type 1-positive mothers in Nairobi. Vaccine, 32 (44), pp. 5801-5808. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: A safe, effective vaccine for breastfeeding infants born to HIV-1-positive mothers could complement antiretroviral therapy (ART) for prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV-1. To date, only a few HIV-1 vaccine candidates have been tested in infants. TRIAL DESIGN: A phase I/II randomized controlled trial PedVacc 002 was conducted to determine the safety and immunogenicity of a single, low dose of MVA.HIVA vaccine delivered intramuscularly to healthy 20-week-old infants born to HIV-1-positive mothers in Nairobi, Kenya. METHODS: Pregnant HIV-1-positive women in the 2nd/3rd trimester of gestation were enrolled, provided with ART and self-selected their infant-feeding modality. Infants received nevirapine and cotrimoxazole prophylaxis. At 20 weeks of age, eligible HIV-1-negative infants were randomized to vaccine versus no-treatment arms and followed to 48 weeks of age for assessments of vaccine safety, HIV-1-specific T-cell responses and antibodies to routine childhood vaccines. RESULTS: Between February and November 2010, 182 mothers were screened, 104 were eligible and followed on ART during pregnancy/postpartum, of whom 73 had eligible infants at 20 weeks postpartum. Thirty-six infants were randomized to vaccine and 37 to no treatment. Eighty-four percent of infants breastfed, and retention at 48 weeks was 99%. Adverse events were rare and similar between the two arms. HIV-1-specific T-cell frequencies in interferon-γ ELISPOT assay were transiently higher in the MVA.HIVA arm (p=0.002), but not above the threshold for a positive assay. Protective antibody levels were adequate and similar between arms for all routine childhood vaccines except HBV, where 71% of MVA.HIVA subjects compared to 92% of control subjects were protected (p=0.05). CONCLUSIONS: This trial tested for the first time an MVA-vectored candidate HIV-1 vaccine in HIV-1-exposed infants in Africa, demonstrating trial feasibility and vaccine safety, low immunogenicity, and compatibility with routine childhood vaccinations. These results are reassuring for use of the MVA vector in more potent prime-boost regimens.

Hanke T. 2014. Conserved immunogens in prime-boost strategies for the next-generation HIV-1 vaccines. Expert Opin Biol Ther, 14 (5), pp. 601-616. | Show Abstract | Read more

INTRODUCTION: Effective vaccines are the best solution for stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases. Their development and in-depth understanding of pathogen-host interactions rely on technological advances. AREAS COVERED: Rational vaccine development can be effectively approached by conceptual separation of, on one hand, design of immunogens from improving their presentation to the immune system and, on the other, induction of antibodies from induction of killer CD8(+) T cells. The biggest roadblock for many vaccines is the pathogens' variability. This is best tackled by focusing both antibodies and T cells on the functionally most conserved regions of proteins common to many variants, including escape mutants. For vectored vaccines, these 'universal' subunit immunogens are most efficiently delivered using heterologous prime-boost regimens, which can be further optimised by adjuvantation and route of delivery. EXPERT OPINION: Development of vaccines against human diseases has many features in common. Acceleration of vaccine discovery depends on basic research and new technologies. Novel strategies should be safely, but rapidly tested in humans. While out-of-the-box thinking is important, vaccine success largely depends on incremental advances best achieved through small, systematic, iterative clinical studies. Failures are inevitable, but the end rewards are huge. The future will be exciting.

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Borthwick N, Ahmed T, Ondondo B, Hayes P, Rose A, Ebrahimsa U, Hayton EJ, Black A, Bridgeman A, Rosario M et al. 2014. Vaccine-elicited human T cells recognizing conserved protein regions inhibit HIV-1 Molecular Therapy, 22 (2), pp. 464-475. | Show Abstract | Read more

Virus diversity and escape from immune responses are the biggest challenges to the development of an effective vaccine against HIV-1. We hypothesized that T-cell vaccines targeting the most conserved regions of the HIV-1 proteome, which are common to most variants and bear fitness costs when mutated, will generate effectors that efficiently recognize and kill virus-infected cells early enough after transmission to potentially impact on HIV-1 replication and will do so more efficiently than whole protein-based T-cell vaccines. Here, we describe the first-ever administration of conserved immunogen vaccines vectored using prime-boost regimens of DNA, simian adenovirus and modified vaccinia virus Ankara to uninfected UK volunteers. The vaccine induced high levels of effector T cells that recognized virus-infected autologous CD4 + cells and inhibited HIV-1 replication by up to 5.79 log 10. The virus inhibition was mediated by both Gag- and Pol- specific effector CD8 + T cells targeting epitopes that are typically subdominant in natural infection. These results provide proof of concept for using a vaccine to target T cells at conserved epitopes, showing that these T cells can control HIV-1 replication in vitro. © The American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy.

Afolabi MO, Ndure J, Drammeh A, Darboe F, Mehedi SR, Rowland-Jones SL, Borthwick N, Black A, Ambler G, John-Stewart GC et al. 2013. A phase I randomized clinical trial of candidate human immunodeficiency virus type 1 vaccine MVA.HIVA administered to Gambian infants. PLoS One, 8 (10), pp. e78289. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: A vaccine to decrease transmission of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) during breast-feeding would complement efforts to eliminate infant HIV-1 infection by antiretroviral therapy. Relative to adults, infants have distinct immune development, potentially high-risk of transmission when exposed to HIV-1 and rapid progression to AIDS when infected. To date, there have been only three published HIV-1 vaccine trials in infants. TRIAL DESIGN: We conducted a randomized phase I clinical trial PedVacc 001 assessing the feasibility, safety and immunogenicity of a single dose of candidate vaccine MVA.HIVA administered intramuscularly to 20-week-old infants born to HIV-1-negative mothers in The Gambia. METHODS: Infants were followed to 9 months of age with assessment of safety, immunogenicity and interference with Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) vaccines. The trial is the first stage of developing more complex prime-boost vaccination strategies against breast milk transmission of HIV-1. RESULTS: From March to October 2010, 48 infants (24 vaccine and 24 no-treatment) were enrolled with 100% retention. The MVA.HIVA vaccine was safe with no difference in adverse events between vaccinees and untreated infants. Two vaccine recipients (9%) and no controls had positive ex vivo interferon-γ ELISPOT assay responses. Antibody levels elicited to the EPI vaccines, which included diphtheria, tetanus, whole-cell pertussis, hepatitis B virus, Haemophilus influenzae type b and oral poliovirus, reached protective levels for the vast majority and were similar between the two arms. CONCLUSIONS: A single low-dose of MVA.HIVA administered to 20-week-old infants in The Gambia was found to be safe and without interference with the induction of protective antibody levels by EPI vaccines, but did not alone induce sufficient HIV-1-specific responses. These data support the use of MVA carrying other transgenes as a boosting vector within more complex prime-boost vaccine strategies against transmission of HIV-1 and/or other infections in this age group. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00982579. The Pan African Clinical Trials Registry PACTR2008120000904116.

Knudsen ML, Mbewe-Mvula A, Rosario M, Johansson DX, Kakoulidou M, Bridgeman A, Reyes-Sandoval A, Nicosia A, Ljungberg K, Hanke T, Liljeström P. 2012. Superior induction of T cell responses to conserved HIV-1 regions by electroporated alphavirus replicon DNA compared to that with conventional plasmid DNA vaccine. J Virol, 86 (8), pp. 4082-4090. | Show Abstract | Read more

Vaccination using "naked" DNA is a highly attractive strategy for induction of pathogen-specific immune responses; however, it has been only weakly immunogenic in humans. Previously, we constructed DNA-launched Semliki Forest virus replicons (DREP), which stimulate pattern recognition receptors and induce augmented immune responses. Also, in vivo electroporation was shown to enhance immune responses induced by conventional DNA vaccines. Here, we combine these two approaches and show that in vivo electroporation increases CD8(+) T cell responses induced by DREP and consequently decreases the DNA dose required to induce a response. The vaccines used in this study encode the multiclade HIV-1 T cell immunogen HIVconsv, which is currently being evaluated in clinical trials. Using intradermal delivery followed by electroporation, the DREP.HIVconsv DNA dose could be reduced to as low as 3.2 ng to elicit frequencies of HIV-1-specific CD8(+) T cells comparable to those induced by 1 μg of a conventional pTH.HIVconsv DNA vaccine, representing a 625-fold molar reduction in dose. Responses induced by both DREP.HIVconsv and pTH.HIVconsv were further increased by heterologous vaccine boosts employing modified vaccinia virus Ankara MVA.HIVconsv and attenuated chimpanzee adenovirus ChAdV63.HIVconsv. Using the same HIVconsv vaccines, the mouse observations were supported by an at least 20-fold-lower dose of DNA vaccine in rhesus macaques. These data point toward a strategy for overcoming the low immunogenicity of DNA vaccines in humans and strongly support further development of the DREP vaccine platform for clinical evaluation.

Rosario M, Fulkerson J, Soneji S, Parker J, Im EJ, Borthwick N, Bridgeman A, Bourne C, Joseph J, Sadoff JC, Hanke T. 2010. Safety and immunogenicity of novel recombinant BCG and modified vaccinia virus Ankara vaccines in neonate rhesus macaques. J Virol, 84 (15), pp. 7815-7821. | Show Abstract | Read more

Although major inroads into making antiretroviral therapy available in resource-poor countries have been made, there is an urgent need for an effective vaccine administered shortly after birth, which would protect infants from acquiring human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) through breast-feeding. Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) is given to most infants at birth, and its recombinant form could be used to prime HIV-1-specific responses for a later boost by heterologous vectors delivering the same HIV-1-derived immunogen. Here, two groups of neonate Indian rhesus macaques were immunized with either novel candidate vaccine BCG.HIVA(401) or its parental strain AERAS-401, followed by two doses of recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara MVA.HIVA. The HIVA immunogen is derived from African clade A HIV-1. All vaccines were safe, giving local reactions consistent with the expected response at the injection site. No systemic adverse events or gross abnormality was seen at necropsy. Both AERAS-401 and BCG.HIVA(401) induced high frequencies of BCG-specific IFN-gamma-secreting lymphocytes that declined over 23 weeks, but the latter failed to induce detectable HIV-1-specific IFN-gamma responses. MVA.HIVA elicited HIV-1-specific IFN-gamma responses in all eight animals, but, except for one animal, these responses were weak. The HIV-1-specific responses induced in infants were lower compared to historic data generated by the two HIVA vaccines in adult animals but similar to other recombinant poxviruses tested in this model. This is the first time these vaccines were tested in newborn monkeys. These results inform further infant vaccine development and provide comparative data for two human infant vaccine trials of MVA.HIVA.

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