Innate Immunity and Autophagy in Elite Controllers

Sponsor: California HIV/AIDS Research Program

Location(s): United States


The overall goals of this study are to identify the major biologic factors that distinguish elite controllers. Our specific aims are 1) to investigate the hypothesis that elite controllers feature superior innate immune responses against HIV infection and 2) to investigate the hypothesis that autophagy is a major determinant of HIV replication levels in elite controllers. We anticipate that the insight gained from this study will direct the development of clinical approaches to mirror the protective features of EC in other HIV-infected individuals and in those at risk for HIV infection.

The proposed study is ideally suited for the CHRP IDEA Award mechanism. The specific aims are novel with respect to the fact that they have not been addressed in EC. In addition, this is pilot study will be carried out by a new investigator.

Finally, this study is directly relevant to California’s HIV/AIDS crisis and its need for the improved prevention and treatment of HIV infection. Traditional vaccine approaches have not been successful. Therefore, focus must be given to studies that identify natural correlates of protection from HIV infection and disease. In this regard, the proposed study will identify new trajectories for vaccine development, particularly those that target non-classical immune responses.