Argos Therapeutics Publishes Novel Approach to Amplifying HIV Genes for Personalized Immunotherapy..

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DURHAM, N.C.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Argos Therapeutics today announced the publication of an article in the peer-reviewed online journal PLoS ONE supporting the company’s novel approach to stimulating a patient-specific immune response to HIV infection. The present study describes the adaptation of Argos’ proprietary Arcelis™ technology platform to create a personalized immunotherapy product that is perfectly matched to each patient’s unique viral load. This approach overcomes the extreme patient-to-patient viral diversity that Argos researchers believe is a primary factor in the failure of other HIV immune-based therapies.

“The findings from this study support the clinical testing of what we believe may be the world’s first commercially feasible personalized immunotherapy for patients already infected with HIV,” said Charles Nicolette, Ph.D, Chief Scientific Officer of Argos. “We believe that by combining RNA encoded with a patient’s own viral antigens with dendritic cells from the same patient, it will be possible to induce robust and broad anti-viral immunity that will be 100% relevant to that individual, as well as potentially induce effective control of viral loads independent of conventional antiretroviral drug treatment.”

“This approach to amplifying HIV genes in a way that captures the multitude of mutated variants demonstrates the broad applicability of our Arcelis™ personalized immunotherapy platform beyond cancer. This technology is uniquely suited to highly mutation-prone infectious diseases,” stated John Bonfiglio, Ph.D., President and CEO. “We look forward to providing an update on our clinical HIV program in early 2008, including initial data from our Phase 1 trial and the initiation of our Phase 2 trial.”

In this study, Argos researchers demonstrated that its multiplex RT-PCR (reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction) strategy overcomes previous hurdles through amplification of translationally-competent RNA encoding regions of highly conserved HIV-1 proteins Gag, Vpr, Rev and Nef. The resultant RNA products represent a complex mixture of autologous antigens encoded by virus quasispecies, which are closely related viruses harboring uniquely mutated sequences. This technique is beneficial, because it produces reliable, strain-independent, patient-specific antigens but does not require viral sequence data or custom-designed PCR primers for each individual. Furthermore, researchers demonstrated that adding in vitro-transcribed HIV RNAs to dendritic cells stimulated poly-antigen-specific immune responses in vitro.

The article, titled “Multiplex RT-PCR amplification of HIV genes to create a completely autologous DC-based immunotherapy for the treatment of HIV infection,” was authored by Irina Tcherepanova, Ph.D.; Jason Harris; Aijing Starr; Jaclyn Cleveland; Helen Ketteringham; David Calderhead, Ph.D.; Joe Horvatinovich; Don Healey, Ph.D.; and Charles A. Nicolette, Ph.D., and can be found in the January 30, 2008 online edition of PLoS One (

About Argos Therapeutics, Inc.

Argos Therapeutics is developing breakthrough immunotherapies that target the unique features of a patient’s disease. This new generation of personalized cancer and infectious disease therapeutics, created using the Company’s “Arcelis” technology, trains the immune system to recognize and attack the disease. Argos’ scientific leadership in RNA-loaded dendritic cells and advanced manufacturing processes provide a platform to tackle virtually all forms of cancers and infectious diseases.

Argos is a private biotechnology company headquartered in Research Triangle Park, NC. The Company has clinical trial programs in cancer and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and has an ongoing co-development and commercialization alliance with the Pharmaceutical Division of Kirin Brewery Company, Limited.