Britta Wahren Project

We have designed small DNA constructs to be used for immunotherapy and propylaxis in human immunodeficiency virus disease and in colorectal carcinoma.

Britta Wahren, professor emerita. Photo: Fredrik Persson

Research project

The resulting vaccines have been used in human trials in four different countries in Europe and Africa. They appear to be very effective in priming for immune responses against a variety of HIV strains because they stimulate both innate, humoral and cell-mediated immunities. Genetic vaccines have several advantages: they make the person produce the vaccine protein in his own cells, and the vaccine thus becomes tailor-made for the immune responses of the vaccinated individual. 2020-2021 the HIV DNA vaccine will be studied for decrease of viral reservoir in children born to HIV-infected mothers in South Africa, Thailand and Italy. In a consortium involving European countries we hold a PhD school for learning on HIV and now also Covid-19 immunology and vaccines.

Research networks

EAVI (European AIDS Vaccine Inititative)

VacTrain

EPIICAL Project

Cancer och Allergi fonden

Collaborators

  • Merlin Robb, for clinical HIV studies internationally, Military HIV research program and National Institutes of Health, USA. www.hivresearch.org/
     
  • Paolo Rossi and Paolo Palma for pediatric HIV vaccine studies, Tor Vergata University and Bambino Gesu Hospital, Italy. https://penta-id.org/ & https://www.epiical.org/
     
  • Margaret A. Liu, honorary doctor and foreign adjunct professor, Protherimmune and Karolinska Institutet, USA and SE.
     
  • Joan Joseph Munne, for PhD education in EU project EAVI2020, University Hospital Vall d´Hebron, Spain. www.eavi2020.org/about-eavi2020/
     
  • Athina Kilpeläinen, PhD examination Barcelona 2020, IrsiCaixa, Barcelona, https://www.irsicaixa.es/en.
     
  • Jorma Hinkula, for animal research. https://search.liu.se/en/?query=hinkula
     
  • At the Karolinska Institutet primarily Pontus Blomberg, Maria Isaguliants, Stefan Petkov, Karl Ljungberg (now Eurocine), Gunnel Biberfeld, Eric Sandström, and the Francesca Chiodi group.

Publications

Frequent and Durable Anti-HIV Envelope VIV2 IgG Responses Induced by HIV-1 DNA Priming and HIV-MVA Boosting in Healthy Tanzanian Volunteers.
Joachim A, Msafiri F, Onkar S, Munseri P, Aboud S, Lyamuya EF, et al
Vaccines (Basel) 2020 Nov;8(4):

Optimizing the immunogenicity of HIV prime-boost DNA-MVA-rgp140/GLA vaccines in a phase II randomized factorial trial design.
Viegas EO, Kroidl A, Munseri PJ, Missanga M, Nilsson C, Tembe N, et al
PLoS One 2018 ;13(11):e0206838

HIVIS-DNA or HIVISopt-DNA priming followed by CMDR vaccinia-based boosts induce both humoral and cellular murine immune responses to HIV.
Hinkula J, Petkov S, Ljungberg K, Hallengärd D, Bråve A, Isaguliants M, et al
Heliyon 2017 Jun;3(6):e00339

Immunization with HIV-1 envelope T20-encoding DNA vaccines elicits cross-clade neutralizing antibody responses.
Stenler S, Lundin KE, Hansen L, Petkov S, Mozafari N, Isaguliants M, et al
Hum Vaccin Immunother 2017 12;13(12):2849-2858

HIV-DNA Given with or without Intradermal Electroporation Is Safe and Highly Immunogenic in Healthy Swedish HIV-1 DNA/MVA Vaccinees: A Phase I Randomized Trial.
Nilsson C, Hejdeman B, Godoy-Ramirez K, Tecleab T, Scarlatti G, Bråve A, et al
PLoS One 2015 ;10(6):e0131748

Early antiretroviral therapy in children perinatally infected with HIV: a unique opportunity to implement immunotherapeutic approaches to prolong viral remission.
Klein N, Palma P, Luzuriaga K, Pahwa S, Nastouli E, Gibb DM, et al
Lancet Infect Dis 2015 Sep;15(9):1108-1114

Immunotherapy with an HIV-DNA Vaccine in Children and Adults.
Palma P, Gudmundsdotter L, Finocchi A, Eriksson LE, Mora N, Santilli V, et al
Vaccines (Basel) 2014 Jul;2(3):563-80

Regulatory T cell abundance and activation status before and after priming with HIVIS-DNA and boosting with MVA-HIV/rgp140/GLA-AF may impact the magnitude of the vaccine-induced immune responses.
Chissumba RM, Luciano A, Namalango E, Bauer A, Bhatt N, Wahren B, et al
Immunobiology 2018 12;223(12):792-801

DNA immunization site determines the level of gene expression and the magnitude, but not the type of the induced immune response.
Petkov S, Starodubova E, Latanova A, Kilpeläinen A, Latyshev O, Svirskis S, et al
PLoS One 2018 ;13(6):e0197902

Codon optimization and improved delivery/immunization regimen enhance the immune response against wild-type and drug-resistant HIV-1 reverse transcriptase, preserving its Th2-polarity.
Latanova AA, Petkov S, Kilpelainen A, Jansons J, Latyshev OE, Kuzmenko YV, et al
Sci Rep 2018 05;8(1):8078

Three-Year Durability of Immune Responses Induced by HIV-DNA and HIV-Modified Vaccinia Virus Ankara and Effect of a Late HIV-Modified Vaccinia Virus Ankara Boost in Tanzanian Volunteers.
Joachim A, Munseri PJ, Nilsson C, Bakari M, Aboud S, Lyamuya EF, et al
AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses 2017 08;33(8):880-888

Boosting with Subtype C CN54rgp140 Protein Adjuvanted with Glucopyranosyl Lipid Adjuvant after Priming with HIV-DNA and HIV-MVA Is Safe and Enhances Immune Responses: A Phase I Trial.
Joachim A, Bauer A, Joseph S, Geldmacher C, Munseri PJ, Aboud S, et al
PLoS One 2016 ;11(5):e0155702

Early antiretroviral therapy in children perinatally infected with HIV: a unique opportunity to implement immunotherapeutic approaches to prolong viral remission.
Klein N, Palma P, Luzuriaga K, Pahwa S, Nastouli E, Gibb DM, et al
Lancet Infect Dis 2015 Sep;15(9):1108-1114

HIV-DNA Given with or without Intradermal Electroporation Is Safe and Highly Immunogenic in Healthy Swedish HIV-1 DNA/MVA Vaccinees: A Phase I Randomized Trial.
Nilsson C, Hejdeman B, Godoy-Ramirez K, Tecleab T, Scarlatti G, Bråve A, et al
PLoS One 2015 ;10(6):e0131748

Potent functional antibody responses elicited by HIV-I DNA priming and boosting with heterologous HIV-1 recombinant MVA in healthy Tanzanian adults.
Joachim A, Nilsson C, Aboud S, Bakari M, Lyamuya EF, Robb ML, et al
PLoS One 2015 ;10(4):e0118486

Short communication: HIV-1 Nef protein carries multiple epitopes suitable for induction of cellular immunity for an HIV vaccine in Africa.
Kilpeläinen A, Axelsson Robertson R, Leitner T, Sandström E, Maeurer M, Wahren B
AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses 2014 Nov;30(11):1065-71

Micro-minicircle Gene Therapy: Implications of Size on Fermentation, Complexation, Shearing Resistance, and Expression.
Stenler S, Wiklander OP, Badal-Tejedor M, Turunen J, Nordin JZ, Hallengärd D, et al
Mol Ther Nucleic Acids 2014 Jan;2():e140

Therapeutic DNA vaccination of vertically HIV-infected children: report of the first pediatric randomised trial (PEDVAC).
Palma P, Romiti ML, Montesano C, Santilli V, Mora N, Aquilani A, et al
PLoS One 2013 ;8(11):e79957

Broad and potent cellular and humoral immune responses after a second late HIV-modified vaccinia virus ankara vaccination in HIV-DNA-primed and HIV-modified vaccinia virus Ankara-boosted Swedish vaccinees.
Nilsson C, Godoy-Ramirez K, Hejdeman B, Bråve A, Gudmundsdotter L, Hallengärd D, et al
AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses 2014 Mar;30(3):299-311

A combination of intradermal jet-injection and electroporation overcomes in vivo dose restriction of DNA vaccines.
Hallengärd D, Bråve A, Isaguliants M, Blomberg P, Enger J, Stout R, et al
Genet Vaccines Ther 2012 Aug;10(1):5

A novel class of anti-HIV agents with multiple copies of enfuvirtide enhances inhibition of viral replication and cellular transmission in vitro.
Chang CH, Hinkula J, Loo M, Falkeborn T, Li R, Cardillo TM, et al
PLoS One 2012 ;7(7):e41235

Other references

  • Professor Britta Wahren has been interviewed by Swedish National Radio (SverigesRadio P4) to mark World Aids Day on December 1st, 2016 .The interview looks at how far research has progressed with the development of an HIV vaccine. Listen to the interview podcast (in Swedish).

  • After receiving the KI Silver medal 2015 for outstanding achievement in the field of medical research, Britta Wahren talks about her research past and present. Research Rendezvous: an interview with Britta Wahren.

  • Wahren B & Wahren P. Framtidens farliga smitta – hur kan vi skydda oss. Britta Wahren, Patrik Wahren, KI University Press 2007.
     
  • In 2015 Britta Wahren received the Grand Silver Medal Award of Karolinska Institutet for outstanding medical research.
     
  • Britta Wahren participates in a interview with the Swedish Radio (SR) called "Nyttiga virus kan göra dig frisk!".
     
  • Contributing to KI essay pages and documentation project on the history of Karolinska Institutet  http://www.wikiki.se/  and https://ki.se/om-ki/essasamling.

Contact

Britta Wahren

Professor Emeritus/Emerita