The technology basis of our immune therapy platform began with clinical observation followed by extensive investigation of one HIV-infected subject. This individual, known as the original Berlin Patient, demonstrated spontaneous boosting of HIV-specific cellular immunity with short interruptions of antiretroviral drug therapy leads to long-term immune control, referred to today as remission or "functional cure"(Lisziewicz et al New England Journal of Medicine 1999).
Later we confirmed and extended this observation, demonstrating that immune control can be induced with controlled rebound of the wild type virus during primary infection (Lori et al. Science 2000). These results suggested that expressing HIV antigens in dendritic cells boosts therapeutically effective T cell response and provided the rationale and objectives for the development of DermaVir, our lead product candidate.
Based on this rationale, supported by experimental data collected up to now, a DermaVir immune intensification therapy can boost HIV-specific cellular immunity of patients and it could control virus replication and lead to a "functional cure" by killing of HIV infected cells and decreasing the reservoir.