Researchers are closer to developing an HIV vaccine by unlocking a key molecule responsible for developing antibodies. (Photo credit: kiril pipo)

Creation of HIV vaccine closer with new method of eliciting antibodies

December 01, 2017

Researchers are closer to developing an HIV vaccine by unlocking a key molecule responsible for developing antibodies—specific proteins that attack viruses and protect from infection.

Faculty of Health Sciences professor Ralph Pantophlet and collaborators in Austria and the U.S. have published a paper in Nature Communications that describes a new method of ‘tricking’ the immune system into reliably creating antibodies that can target HIV strains.

“We have identified a molecule that is similar to one found on HIV,” says Pantophlet. “When we inject this molecule into animals, it helps generate antibodies able to target the virus.”

Pantophlet says that the research requires further study before clinical testing on humans, but that the development is an important step to developing an HIV vaccine—which could happen within the next 10 years under ideal conditions.

The technique could also be applied to other viruses, or cancers, and develop new treatments.

Latest News

  • June 21, 2018
    SFU researcher to study role of racism on chronic disease among Indigenous people in Canada
    Indigenous people in Canada experience higher rates of chronic disease, such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes, than other Canadians – yet the role that racism plays in preventing and treating chronic disease is underexplored. Faculty of Health Sciences PhD candidate Krista Stelkia plans to change this with her research.
  • June 11, 2018
    Medical tourism research reveals health inequities facing local populations in Mexico
    Krystyna Adams, who convocates this month with a PhD in health sciences, spent three months living in Mexico to learn how medical tourism practices shape health-care delivery. The research, conducted for her thesis, illustrates how the medical tourism industry might exacerbate global health inequities if health-care resources are only used to provide care to those who can afford to pay.
  • June 08, 2018
    SFU student team wins third at prestigious Oxford competition
    A team of five enthusiastic Faculty of Health Sciences students won third prize at a prestigious global competition at Oxford University for their inspiring presentation about the mental health issues facing second generation immigrant youth.