CONTACT: BECKY SOGLIN
2130 Medical Laboratories
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-6660; fax (319) 335-8034
Release: Nov. 30, 1999
UI researchers to begin state's first HIV vaccine trial
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- University of Iowa Health Care
researchers will soon begin the first human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) vaccine
trial in Iowa. The UI is one of 11 institutions nationwide that will participate
in the study as part of the National Institutes of Health-funded AIDS Clinical
The clinical study will help determine whether a vaccine
might modify the course of HIV disease in people who are already infected,
said Jack Stapleton, M.D., UI professor of internal medicine and lead investigator
for Iowa's portion of the study, which will begin in January 2000.
The study involves people with HIV who are receiving
either an immune booster known as interleukin 2 (IL-2) or a placebo through
a separate NIH-funded study at the UI.
"We will learn if individuals who receive IL-2 respond
better to the new vaccine and other vaccines compared with those who do not
receive the booster," Stapleton said. "In addition, the study will help determine
if boosting the immune system with an HIV vaccine, in combination with treating
the virus with potent anti-HIV drugs, leads to better long-term health or
The study is one of the first to investigate if a
vaccination can be used to treat chronic viral infections, as opposed to using
a vaccination to prevent infections. Stapleton said the vaccination might
also be useful for other chronic infections such as hepatitis C, hepatitis
B or herpes viruses.
More than 1,000 Iowans with HIV infection have been
treated by the UI Division of Infectious Diseases since the epidemic began.
Approximately 300 Iowans currently receive their primary medical care through
the UI HIV Clinic, which Stapleton directs. Following national trends, there
has been a steady increase in the percentage of Iowa patients who are women
and/or were infected through heterosexual exposure to the virus.
HIV disease is transmitted when an infected person
passes the virus to another person through sex, shared needles during drug
use or other contact involving infected blood. The virus attacks the body's
immune system and prevents it from fighting infection and certain cancers.
AIDS is the late stage of HIV disease, in which serious infections or cancers
Currently, drug cocktails can considerably slow disease
progress and improve the health and survival of HIV-infected people. In addition,
anti-HIV therapy can help prevent infection in people exposed to the virus
or in infants born to infected women. However, there is no known cure for
The National Institutes of Health reports more than
600,000 cases of AIDS in the United States since 1981, and that as many as
900,000 Americans may be living with HIV.
Stapleton is a member of the U.S. Department of Veterans
Affairs (VA) Infectious Diseases Research Advisory Committee and a staff physician
at the VA Medical Center in Iowa City.
University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership
between the UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the
patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide.