The Immune Response Corporation, the maker of the experimental HIV vaccine Remune, has announced a clinical trial in Canada to determine whether the vaccine is effective in suppressing HIV replication for people taking breaks from antiretroviral drug therapy. The trial will begin in April and will last for more than 18 months. Sixty HIV-positive people in Ottawa and Montreal who have undetectable viral loads through anti-HIV drug therapy will be studied to see if Remune can maintain undetectable viral levels during treatment interruptions. "An effective therapeutic vaccine may help the person's immune system control their HIV infection, potentially without the use of medications, and provide important insights into the development of an effective preventive vaccine," says Jonathan Angel, principal investigator for the clinical trial.
Georgia Theofan, vice president of clinical development at Immune Response, adds, "Using therapeutic vaccination to potentially delay rebound of plasma viremia during antiretroviral treatment interruption could be a way to provide HIV patients with a reprieve from the toxic side effects of those drugs."
Preliminary results from the study are expected to be announced at about the midpoint of the clinical trial. Remune is being evaluated in a separate Phase II clinical trial to see if the compound is effective as a therapeutic vaccine in producing an immune response in order to control HIV in people already infected.