Objective: The efficacy of therapeutic vaccines against HIV-1 infection has been modest. New inerts to redirect responses to vulnerable sites are urgently needed to improve these results.
Design: We performed the first-in-human clinical trial with naked mRNA (iHIVARNA) combining a dendritic cell activation strategy (TriMix:CD40L+CD70+caTLR4 RNA) with a novel HIV immunogen sequences (HTI immunogen).
Methods: A dose escalation, phase I clinical trial was performed in 21 chronic HIV-1-infected patients under ART who received three intranodal doses of mRNA (weeks 0, 2 and 4) as follow: TriMix-100 g, TriMix-300 g, TriMix-300 g with HTI-300 g, TriMix-300 g with HTI-600 g, TriMix-300 g with HTI-900 g. Primary end-point was safety and secondary-exploratory end-points were immunogenicity, changes in viral reservoir and transcriptome.
Results: Overall, the vaccine was secure and well tolerated. There were 31 grade 1/2 and 1 grade 3 adverse events, mostly unrelated to the vaccination. Patients who received the highest dose showed a moderate increase in T-cell responses spanning HTI sequence at week 8. In addition, the proportion of responders receiving any dose of HTI increased from 31% at w0 to 80% postvaccination. The intervention had no impact on caHIV-DNA levels, however, caHIV-RNA expression and usVL were transiently increased at weeks 5 and 6 in the highest dose of iHIVARNA, and these changes were positively correlated with HIV-1-specific-induced immune responses.
Conclusion: This phase I dose-escalating trial showed that iHIVARNA administration was safe and well tolerated, induced moderate HIV-specific T-cell responses and transiently increased different viral replication readouts. These data support further exploration of iHIVARNA in a phase II study. CLINICALTRIALS.
Gov identifier: NCT02413645.