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NIAID to advance B-cell approach to HIV vaccines
Date:5/20/2008

program is an important stimulus for HIV vaccine discovery.

Some evidence suggests that the programs goal of eliciting broadly neutralizing antibodies to HIV, although extremely difficult, may be feasible. Scientists have discovered that some HIV-infected individuals naturally but rarely produce broadly neutralizing antibodies to HIV. Giving such antibodies experimentally to monkeys protected the animals from HIV infection after exposure to the virus. Scientists now face the challenge of how to stimulate the human immune system to predictably produce broadly neutralizing antibodies to HIV through vaccination.

Combining experience with innovation, NIAID is awarding the B-cell program grants to four investigators who already have established a body of research on B cells and antibodies in the context of HIV, and to six investigators with less experience in this area who have exceptionally creative ideas. Each grantees combined expertise in basic immunology and HIV pathogenesis reflects the programs roots in a collaboration between NIAIDs Division of AIDS and its Division of Allergy, Immunology and Transplantation. The joint awards by the two NIAID divisions culminate a 20-month planning and implementation process that began in September 2006. Scientific discussions a year and a half later, during the NIAID HIV Vaccine Summit in March 2008, underscored the importance of broadly neutralizing antibodies as a promising approach that merits further investigation.

The grants are being awarded to the scientists as follows:

Dennis R. Burton, Ph.D.
The Scripps Research Institute

James E. Crowe, Jr., M.D.
Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

Donald N. Forthal, M.D.
University of California, Irvine

Maureen M. Goodenow, Ph.D.
University of Florida College of Medicine

Min Lu, Ph.D.
Weill Cornell Medical College

Abraham Pinter, Ph.D.
University of Medicine and Dent
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Contact: Laura Sivitz
sivitzl@niaid.nih.gov
301-402-1663
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Source:Eurekalert

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