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'Our Strategy is to Cure HIV Infection'

May 1, 2021 • 3:24 pm CDT
(Precision Vaccinations)

California-based ImmunityBio, Inc. announced that the U.S. Military HIV Research Program (MHRP) at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research has launched a Phase 2 clinical trial in Thailand to evaluate ImmunityBio’s interleukin-15 (IL-15) superagonist Anktiva® (N-803) administered in combination with antiretroviral therapy (ART) during acute HIV infection as an experimental therapy to target and inhibit the early establishment of HIV ‘reservoirs’ in infected individuals.

These researchers will compare levels of HIV RNA and DNA in lymph node samples pre-and post-treatment and evaluate the therapy’s effects on CD8+ T and natural killer (NK) immune cells.

“Our current strategy to not just treat but cure HIV infection involves both inducing HIV out of its latent state in host T cells and removing or killing infected cells via an immune response or immunotherapy,” said Patrick Soon-Shiong, M.D., Founder and Executive Chairman of ImmunityBio, in a press statement issued on April 29, 2021.

“Anktiva is capable of triggering both of these mechanisms, as it can both activate viral transcription in CD4+ T cells—i.e., remove the virus from latency—and activate CD8+ memory cells and natural killer cells that recognize and kill HIV-infected host cells."

"We look forward to discovering whether or not this activity is correlated with reduction of viral load and inhibition of establishment of the HIV reservoir during acute infection in HIV.”

The study is being conducted at the Thai Red Cross AIDS Research Centre in Bangkok.

Culver City-based ImmunityBio is a leading, late-clinical-stage immunotherapy company developing next-generation therapies that drive immunogenic mechanisms for defeating cancers and infectious diseases. 

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