Nashville, Tennessee- A team of researchers at the Vanderbilt University have found that the actual human immune system is capable of developing HIV antibodies.
In a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, researchers explain their discovery of HIV vaccines. The team found that the human body had neutralizing antibodies against HIV, thanks to this discovery the team was able to explore the antibodies in the look for a vaccine. The research was divided into three stages: Identification, Optimization, and Re-engineering.
Scientists decided to explore the antibody features included in the immune system, to have a better understanding of what makes them deadly to the HIV virus. With proper manipulation, the team would be able to make a vaccine that triggers this antibody against the virus.
In the first phase of the study, researchers analyzed the primary elements of the antibodies, which they call loop-like structures, proceeding to understand the physical characteristics of the loops when binding the HIV virus, the team proceeded to join the re-engine loops to a natural antibody to see if this one would trigger.
The long heavy-chain-complementarity- determining region 3 (HCDR3) or loop antibody manages to join the HIV virus and disables it, researchers found that this antibody can be found even in persons who don’t have the HIV virus.
HCDR3 is formed by 28 amino acids that are bind together, thanks to a computer molecular modeling program called Rosetta, the investigators were able to understand the part of the HCDR3 that joins more tightly to the virus.
The Rosetta program is commonly used in to study possible treatments for diseases such as cancer or autoimmune disorders.
The team discovered that when re-engineering the HCDR3 onto an antibody called PG9 the antibody was able to neutralize the HIV virus.
Although it takes over a year for the body to develop the antibodies, the discovery of the Tennessee team of researchers takes science one step closer to finding the vaccine for the HIV virus.
Source: Medical News Today