Targeting canarypox (CP)-HIV vaccine to dendritic cells (DCs) elicits anti-HIV-1 immune responses in vitro. We conducted a phase I/II clinical trial to evaluate whether adding DC to a CP-HIV vaccine improved virologic control during analytic treatment interruption (ATI) in HIV-1-infected subjects. Twenty-nine subjects on suppressive antiretroviral therapy were randomized to vaccination with autologous DCs infected with CP-HIV+keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH) (arm A, n=14) or CP-HIV+KLH alone (arm B, n=15). The mean viral load (VL) setpoint during ATI did not differ between subjects in arms A and B. A higher percentage of subjects in the DC group had a VL setpoint < 5,000 c/mL during ATI (4/13 or 31% in arm A compared with 0/13 in arm B, p=0.096), but virologic control was transient. Subjects in arm A had a greater increase in KLH lymphoproliferative response than subjects in arm B; however, summed ELISPOT responses to HIV-1 antigens did not differ by treatment arm. We conclude that a DC-CP-HIV vaccine is well-tolerated in HIV-1-infected patients, but does not lower VL setpoint during ATI compared with CP-HIV alone. New methods to enhance the immunogenicity and antiviral efficacy of DC-based vaccines for HIV-1 infection are needed.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00026624.