A live-virus “suicide” vaccine for human immunodeficiency virus
HARRY W. KESTLER, PhD
Dr. Kestler is an assistant staff member in the Department of Molecular Biology in the Research Institute of the Cleveland Clinic, and the principal investigator for the LIVE project (Live Immunodeficiency virus Vaccine Evaluation).
BIMAL K. CHAKRABARTI, PhD
Dr. Chakrabarti is a research fellow in the Department of Molecular Biology and a LIVE project investigator.
A vaccine that uses a live, attenuated human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) may offer the best hope of a vaccine against acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). A recent improvement should increase the safety of the live-virus approach: a “suicide gene” inserted into the viral RNA, which causes infected cells to die when treated with ganciclovir. We envision using this strategy not only to prevent AIDS, but also to treat it.