Monoclonal Antibody Shown to Suppress Viral Load in HIV Patients

Researchers at Rockefeller University in New York have discovered that a potent monoclonal antibody known as 10-1074 is highly effective at neutralizing various HIV strains.

Researchers at Rockefeller University in New York have discovered that a potent monoclonal antibody known as 10-1074 is highly effective at neutralizing various HIV strains. When intravenously administered to individuals infected with HIV-1 who participated in a phase 1 clinical trial, antibody 10-1074 facilitated a rapid decline in the subjects’ viral load, effectively clearing infected cells and engendering an immune response.

In the study, 14 individuals without HIV and 19 individuals with HIV, three of whom were on antiretroviral therapy (ART), received a single intravenous dose of antibody 10-1074. The dose amount was either 3 mg, 10 mg, or 30 mg, which were well-tolerated with no signs of serious adverse effects during a follow-up period of nearly six months. The antibody half-life was 24 days in individuals without HIV and 12.8 days in individuals with HIV. Although the patients already on ART saw no changes in viral load, the HIV-positive subjects who were not on ART and received a 10 mg dose of antibody 10-1074 saw a decrease in viremia that was most pronounced about 7 to 9 days after infusion. Similarly, the participants receiving 30 mg doses saw their viral loads drop, reaching their nadir about 10 days after infusion. Two participants did not respond to the antibody; they had been infected with a variant of HIV known to be resistant to 10-1074. In all subjects, viral loads tended to rebound to their original levels by three to four weeks after infusion.

The latest discovery about antibody 10-1074 builds on earlier research by the Rockefeller University team, along with scientists from the University of Cologne in Germany. In a study presented last year in Science, the researchers tested an antibody called 3BNC117 and found it to be “broadly neutralizing” in that it fought off a wide array of HIV strains. In that study, 14 out of 15 patients who were given 3BNC117 were able to neutralize a number of HIV types with just a single infusion. The subjects were followed for six months afterward.

In this latest study, antibody 10-1074 proved to be even more potent than 3BNC117 and VRC01, another antibody that was tested, although it revealed more escape variants than 3BNC117 did; 10-1074 did not target HIV cells as widely as 3BNC117 or VRC01 did. Nevertheless, antibody 10-1074’s potent antiviral activity and lack of adverse effects mark it as a promising contender in the field of HIV treatment.

Scientists are eager to make headway when it comes to alternatives to ART. Although ART has been a literal lifesaver for HIV-infected patients, it can involve serious side effects such as kidney complications, lower bone density, and gastrointestinal problems. Monoclonal antibodies, either on their own or offered in concert with ART, can provide even more options for this patient population.

Laurie Saloman, MS, is a health writer with more than 20 years of experience working for both consumer and physician-focused publications. She is a graduate of Brandeis University and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. She lives in New Jersey with her family.