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New vaccine technology protects mice from hepatitis C virus
Date:2/23/2011

the inner genes, they will respond. Actually, the response is extremely potent, and one of the things it does is summon the specialised CD8 killer cells.

"We took a dead common cold virus, an adenovirus that is completely harmless and which many of us have met in childhood," Associate Professor Pravsgaard Christensen explains.

"We hid the gene for one of the HCV's internal molecules inside it. At the same time we attached a special molecule on the internal molecule so that when the cells of the mouse body tried to take a sample, they would extract a more extensive section. The immune defences would then be presented with a larger section of the molecule concerned. You may say that the immune defences were given an entire palm print of the internal genes instead of just a single fingerprint."

This strategy resulted in two discoveries from the team. Firstly, the mice were vaccinated for HCV in a way that meant that protection was independent of variations in the surface molecules of the virus. Secondly, the immune defences of the mice saw such an extensive section of the internal molecule that even though some aspects of it changed, there were still a couple of impressions the immune defences could recognise and respond to.

The new technology to be tested in monkeys

Another virus that mutates its surface molecules with extreme rapidity is HIV. It changes skin in the space of 24 hours, and like HCV, we do not yet have a cure or a vaccine. The researchers think that HIV originally migrated to man from monkeys in the 1930s, when it was the simian Immunodeficiency virus that still circulates among a number of species of wild African monkeys.

"The Danish Medical Research Council (DMRC) has given postdoc Peter Holst a grant to test our technology for a SIV vaccine for macaque monkeys in the US," says Associate Professor Pravsgaard Christensen.

The University of Copenhagen is also currently negotiating the
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Contact: Associate Professor Jan Pravsgaard Christensen
jpc@sund.ku.dk
453-058-9945
University of Copenhagen
Source:Eurekalert

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