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Week: 575.3 Guest: Dr. Larry Arthur, National Cancer Institute, NIH

Topic: DNA vaccines Host/ Producer: Steve Girard

NEMA: DNA vaccines....coming up...

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NEMA: Immune responses are best promoted by introducing live viruses into the body...attenuated viruses that won't cause disease in monkey tests. But there isn't a safe way to test the virus in humans. Speaking at a conference on advances in AIDS vaccine development, Dr. Larry Arthur of the National Cancer Institute says he and his colleagues have tried to duplicate the virus infection cycle, without having an effective virus, by using DNA vaccinations. Dr. Arthur says these vaccinations have proven effective in monkeys.

ARTHUR: The idea is to put the DNA of the entire virus into the animal...let the cell replicate all the proteins...assemble those proteins into a virus, let it bud from the cell. We know that it will bind to another CD4 cell. It's not infectious, but it will go through all the processes that an infectious virus would go through, without having the problem of having an infectious virus there.

NEMA: Dr. Arthur says in animals given the DNA inoculations, all but one of them had levels of the virus below detection, or very low levels...compared to those not getting the DNA components. I'm Steve Girard at The Heart of the Matter.

ARTHUR: Before animals that were inoculated with controls were challenged with virus...(and then) we looked at how much virus was in the plasma in the animals. They all had a hundred thousand to a million virus particles per mil in their plasma. The animals that we had inoculated with the DNA components...one of them gave the same level of virus that we got in the controls, but the rest of them were either below the limits of detection, or had low levels of virus...

NEMA: Dr. Arthur says researchers are trying to make the DNA vaccines more effective, to enhance the immune response.



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