PARIS, FRANCE .- Provide brief electric shock during the application could help the body respond better to some types of experimental vaccines against AIDS, according to U.S. researchers said Thursday. They used a device similar to a gun to inject the vaccine together with three short electrical pulses, to open cell membranes so that the vaccine can penetrate.
Sandhya Vasan, the AIDS Research Center Aaron Diamond in New
York, said the technique, called electroporation, can be particularly useful to provide DNA vaccines, an infectious agent using genetic material to cause an immune response.
“With a short pulse of electricity, our cell membranes temporarily opens and lets in more DNA. The reason that DNA vaccines alone will not wake a powerful immune response is because most of it (the DNA ) is not within our cells, “said Vasan told Reuters in an interview. In their study, Vasan and his colleagues used an experimental DNA vaccine relatively weak, designed in 2001 with four genes from a strain of the AIDS virus circulating in China.
When the vaccine is administered only by injection, only 25 percent of the participants developed an immune response.
But in his latest essay between 2007 and 2009, when the same vaccine was administered using electroporation, the immune response seemed much stronger, Vasan said at a meeting of researchers in this field in Paris.
“We improved the response rate, improved the duration of response and also improves the amplitude of the response. There were four different genes of the virus, to the highest dose, the people responded to three or even four of the genes,” said expert. The study involved 40 people divided into five groups of eight. Three groups received the vaccine in different doses with the electrical pulse. The fourth group received placebo with power, while the fifth was administered the highest dose with a conventional injection.
The results showed that those who applied conventional injections showed no immune response, while three of the eight patients receiving the lower dose of immunization with the electricity it had and all those immunized with the higher dose and electricity immune responders .
“This is the first clinical trial of electroporation in healthy volunteers for a preventive vaccine. It can be applied to many diseases, many vaccines, not only for HIV,” said Vasan.
Now, his group plans to enter the second phase of the trial, providing another strong DNA vaccine by electroporation. Researchers are struggling to develop an AIDS vaccine that may protect people from infection with the deadly and incurable virus. Although there are dozens in research, only one has shown some level of effectiveness, and experts are not sure how strong the effect is. Often, patients develop some kind of immune response to vaccines for HIV, but this does not imply that they are protected, and scientists are not aware of why.