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1.  Safety and Immunogenicity of the MRKAd5 gag HIV Type 1 Vaccine in a Worldwide Phase 1 Study of Healthy Adults 
Abstract
The safety and immunogenicity of the MRK adenovirus type 5 (Ad5) HIV-1 clade B gag vaccine was assessed in an international Phase I trial. Three-hundred and sixty healthy HIV-uninfected adults were enrolled on five continents. Subjects received placebo or 1 × 109 or 1 × 1010 viral particles (vp) per dose of the MRKAd5 HIV-1 gag vaccine at day 1, week 4, and week 26. Immunogenicity was evaluated using an IFN-γ ELISPOT gag 15-mer assay with positive responses defined as ≥55 SFC/106 PBMCs and ≥4-fold over mock control. The vaccine was well tolerated. The most common adverse events were injection site reactions, headache, pyrexia, diarrhea, fatigue, and myalgia. At week 30, geometric mean ELISPOT responses were 24, 114, and 226 SFC/106 PBMCs in the placebo, 1 × 109 vp/dose, and 1 × 1010 vp/dose groups, respectively. Overall, responses to 1 × 1010 vp were 85% and 68% in subjects with low (≤200) and high (>200) baseline Ad5 titers, respectively. The MRKAd5 HIV-1 gag vaccine was immunogenic in diverse geographic regions. Gag ELISPOT responses were greater in the 1 × 1010 vp/dose groups than in the 1 × 109 vp/dose groups. Data from this first international study indicate that adenovirus-vectored vaccines are well tolerated and may be immunogenic in subjects from regions with high prevalence of preexisting Ad5 immunity.
doi:10.1089/aid.2010.0151
PMCID: PMC3422055  PMID: 20854108
3.  Safety and Immunogenicity of the Merck Adenovirus Serotype 5 (MRKAd5) and MRKAd6 Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Trigene Vaccines Alone and in Combination in Healthy Adults▿  
Preexisting immunity to adenovirus serotype 5 (Ad5) diminishes immune responses to vaccines using Ad5 as a vector. Alternate Ad serotypes as vaccine vectors might overcome Ad5-specific neutralizing antibodies and enhance immune responses in populations with a high prevalence of Ad5 immunity. To test this hypothesis, healthy human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-seronegative adults were enrolled in a blinded, randomized, dose-escalating, placebo-controlled study. In part A, subjects with baseline Ad6 titers of ≤18 received the Merck Ad6 (MRKAd6) HIV type 1 (HIV-1) trigene vaccine at weeks 0, 4, and 26. In part B, subjects stratified by Ad5 titers (≤200 or >200) and Ad6 titers (≤18 or >18) received the MRKAd5-plus-MRKAd6 (MRKAd5+6) HIV-1 trigene vaccine at weeks 0, 4, and 26. Immunogenicity was assessed by an enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISPOT) assay at week 30. No serious adverse events occurred. MRKAd6 trigene vaccine recipients responded more often to Nef than to Gag or Pol. In part A, ELISPOT response rates to ≥2 vaccine antigens were 14%, 63%, and 71% at 109, 1010, and 1011 viral genomes (vg)/dose, respectively. All responders had positive Nef-specific ELISPOT results. In part B, Nef-ELISPOT response rates at 1010 vg/dose of the MRKAd5+6 trigene vaccine were 50% in the low-Ad5/low-Ad6 stratum (n = 8), 78% in the low-Ad5/high-Ad6 stratum (n = 9), 75% in the high-Ad5/low-Ad6 stratum (n = 8), and 44% in the high-Ad5/high-Ad6 stratum (n = 9). The MRKAd6 and MRKAd5+6 trigene vaccines elicited dose-dependent responses predominantly to Nef and were generally well tolerated, indicating that Ad6 should be considered a candidate vector for future vaccines. Although small sample sizes limit the conclusions that can be drawn from this exploratory study, combining two Ad vectors may be a useful vaccine strategy for circumventing isolated immunity to a single Ad serotype.
doi:10.1128/CVI.00144-09
PMCID: PMC2745015  PMID: 19605598
4.  Alterations in thigh subcutaneous adipose tissue gene expression in protease inhibitor-based highly active antiretroviral therapy 
Use of protease inhibitor (PI)–based highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has been associated with altered regional fat distribution, insulin resistance, and dyslipidemias. To assess how PI-based HAART affects adipocyte gene expression in male HIV-1–infected patients, reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction was used to quantify messenger RNA expression of adipocyte transcription factors and adipocytokines in thigh and abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue from male (1) HIV-1 seronegative subjects (control, n = 9), (2) asymptomatic treatment-naive HIV-1–infected patients (naive, n = 6), (3) HIV-1–infected patients who were receiving antiretroviral agents but never received PIs (PI naive, n = 5), (4) HIV-1–infected patients who were receiving PI-based HAART (PI, n = 7), and (5) HIV-1–infected patients who discontinued the PI component of their antiviral therapy more than 6 months before enrollment (past PI, n =7). In the PI group, the messenger RNA expression levels of the CCAAT/enhancer–binding protein α, leptin, and adiponectin (18%, P < .01; 23%, P < .05; and 13%, P < .05, respectively) were significantly lower than the levels measured in the PI-naive group. These results are consistent with previous studies on the effects of PIs on cultured adipocytes. Prospective longitudinal studies of thigh fat adipose tissue gene expression could provide further insights on the pathogenesis of metabolic complications associated with PI-based HAART.
doi:10.1016/j.metabol.2004.08.022
PMCID: PMC1564433  PMID: 15877283

Results 1-4 (4)