In the News


The Nelson Mandela Academic Clinical Research Unit (NeMACRU) in Mthatha, South Africa became part of a network of clinical trial sites that are conducting the largest Phase 2b/3 HIV vaccine efficacy clinical trial in the country. Read more >


An HIV vaccine regimen tested in an early-phase clinical trial elicited robust immune responses that appeared to be stronger than those observed in a landmark 2009 study showing that a vaccine can protect people from HIV infection. Read more >


To know longtime human rights and HIV activist Steven Wakefield today, with his vivid African print shirts and Buddha-like smile, it’s hard to imagine how he — how anyone — lived through the devastating early years of the AIDS pandemic. During Pride Month, his resilience, wisdom and continued activism are being honored by Seattle Pride and the Puget Sound Business Journal. Photo by Robert Hood / Fred Hutch News Service

Steven Wakefield of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center will be one of five grand marshals in the 2018 Seattle Pride Parade on June 24, an honor that is especially fitting given this year’s theme, “Pride Beyond Borders.”


With HIV Vaccine Awareness Day (HVAD) in the spotlight earlier this month, AVAC’s May episode of Px Pulse features HVTN's Dr. Larry Corey, who explains just how the AMP studies, HVTN 702 and HVTN 705 will each, in different ways, advance what we know about how to develop a vaccine for HIV. 


Neither frequency of alcohol use, binge drinking, marijuana, nor other drug use negatively impacts retention and adherence rates in phase I clinical trials of preventive HIV vaccines. Read more >


HVTN Media Room
May 23, 2018

HVTN invites you to visit our new Media Room, your gateway to relevant information about our Network. 


Cover Design by Cody Shipman

The Community Compass aims to keep the HVTN community informed about the Network’s research, sites' activities, and advances in the field of HIV Prevention and Vaccination. Click here to read the latest issue. 


Image courtesy of AVAC

Research on broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) is taking the field of HIV prevention science in new directions, with implications for new prevention interventions and vaccine development. There’s much to know and much to learn about these powerful instruments of the immune system.


Gail Broder
March 8, 2018

Gail Broder is senior community engagement project manager for the HIV Vaccine Trials Network. Headquartered at Fred Hutch, the HVTN is the largest global network working to develop and test preventive HIV vaccines. Photo courtesy of Gail Broder

A former music therapist now orchestrates community engagement in HIV vaccine research


Fred Hutch HIV researcher Dr. Julie Overbaugh kicks off the annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections March 4 in Boston. Photo by Fatima Tayag / image courtesy of Dr. Julie Overbaugh

Talk focuses on power of international collaboration to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission


Sister Zubeida (left) and Dr. Katingima (middle) speak with a client at the Mombasa Cohort clinic. Photo courtesy of Dr. Scott McClelland

Longstanding Mombasa Cohort helps answer questions about HIV risk and transmission


Matthew Munch, left, a research technician and paper co-author, with senior author Dr. David Fredricks in his lab at Fred Hutch. Photo by Robert Hood / Fred Hutch News Service

For the first time, seven species of vaginal bacteria linked to higher HIV susceptibility


Meet Peru's HIV Superhero
January 22, 2018

Dr. Jorge Sanchez, co-founder of Lima's Asociación Civil Impacta Salud y Educación, stopped by a party to thank participants in an HIV prevention study. The party featured dancers dressed as superheroes, who help raise awareness of Impacta's work. A longtime leader in Peru's battle against AIDS, Sanchez's superpower is research. Photo by Katie Jennings / New Canoe Media

By finding a better way to prevent HIV, Dr. Jorge Sanchez aims to help end his country’s AIDS epidemic


Everyone who ever met Bonnie Mathieson had to be taken in with her smile, her enthusiasm for science, her great questions at meetings, and her keen perceptions about HIV and the field of HIV vaccines. We in the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) community owe enormous thanks and gratitude for her support and guidance since the advent of our organization 17 years ago. 


Dr. Larry Corey Photo by Robert Hood / Fred Hutch News Service

A banner year for the launch of new HIV vaccine trials


Dr. Gregory Wilson
December 27, 2017

Dr. Gregory Wilson of the Vanderbilt HIV Vaccine Program in Nashville, Tenn. Photo by Katie Jennings / New Canoe Media

An AIDS researcher's first encounter with HIV as a young pediatrician


The Fred Hutch campus went red Thursday night in preparation for World AIDS Day, observed around the world Dec. 1. The Hutch-based HIV Vaccine Trials Network has launched an unprecedented four HIV vaccine clinical trials over the last year. Photo by Robert Hood / Fred Hutch News Service

As lights around the world glow red today, Fred Hutch-based researchers lead global effort to end the pandemic


World AIDS Day Message
December 1, 2017

As we arrive at another World AIDS Day, more than 30 years after the start of this epidemic, we fortunately stand in a very different place than in prior years. Major strides in HIV therapy continue and more than 25 million people are now on antiretroviral therapy for HIV; a remarkable achievement - one that means the life expectancy of each of these individuals can be increased over 40 years longer than a decade ago.


Cover Image by Cody Shipman

The Community Compass aims to keep the HVTN community informed about the Network’s research, sites' activities, and advances in the field of HIV Prevention and Vaccination. Click here to read the latest issue. 


“Imbokodo,” the Zulu word for rock, is part of a well-known proverb in South Africa that refers to the strength of women and their importance in the community. Image by Cody Shipman

The National Institutes of Health and partners have launched a large clinical trial to assess whether an experimental HIV vaccine regimen is safe and able to prevent HIV infection. The new Phase 2b proof-of-concept study, called Imbokodo, aims to enroll 2,600 HIV-negative women in sub-Saharan Africa. Of 1.8 million new HIV infections worldwide in 2016, 43 percent occurred in eastern and southern Africa, with women and girls disproportionately affected.


“I’m excited for the possibility of a cure,” said Tranisha Arzah. Born with HIV, she joined the community advisory board for the Fred Hutch-based cure research group defeatHIV to "see if I could get other women involved and make sure they have a voice.” Photo by Robert Hood / Fred Hutch News Service

As researchers work toward a cure, advocate Tranisha Arzah keeps the focus on community


Dr. Julie Overbaugh studies the infant immune response to HIV — which could provide clues to building a better vaccine. Photo by Robert Hood / Fred Hutch News Service

Dr. Julie Overbaugh mines decades-old samples to find new clues to effective immune responses to HIV


Dr. James Kublin is a principal staff scientist for the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division at Fred Hutch and also serves as executive director of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network, or HVTN. Photo by Robert Hood / Fred Hutch News Service

We now know that microbial communities, especially in our guts, profoundly affect immune response


Evolutionary biologists at Fred Hutch are studying how HIV evolved before it was able to infect humans — and how it may change again in the future — in the hopes of getting one step ahead of the virus. Stock photo by iStock

Studies of how the virus evolved and how it might change down the road could help researchers develop vaccines or cures for the infection


CD4+ T cell responders after prime or boost in each vaccine group as compared to prior VSV alone study (HTVN 090). Photo Provided by Dr. Frahm

Human immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) continues to be a major public health problem. Throughout the years, there have been a multitude of vaccine trials, nearly all with mixed results. Currently, the HIV vaccine field is focused on producing protective antibodies; however, T cell responses likely contribute to protection and aid in B cell activation. 


Good News at Fred Hutch
September 29, 2017

Drs. Edus "Hootie" Warren and Warren Phipps Photos by Robert Hood / Fred Hutch News Service

Drs. Edus H. “Hootie” Warren and Warren Phipps of Fred Hutch Global Oncology have received a five-year, $2.9 million grant from the National Cancer Institute’s Provocative Questions Initiative to study immune responses to Kaposi sarcoma. 


Kyle Rybczyk, clinic coordinator for the Nashville unit of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network, first encountered HIV as a nurse in the mid-1980s. The experience "affected me profoundly — personally and professionally," he said. Photo courtesy of Katie Jennings / New Canoe Media

Kyle Rybczyk is the clinic coordinator for the Vanderbilt HIV Vaccine Program, a unit of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network, or HVTN. Headquartered at Fred Hutch, HVTN is the world’s largest international collaboration focused on developing vaccines to prevent HIV/AIDS. It takes a global village to run a clinical trial like the AMP HIV Prevention Study underway now. Here is one villager’s story.


T.K. Hampton, a performer and HIV advocate in Nashville, Tennessee, wrote a musical about the urgency of ending HIV. Photo courtesy of Katie Jennings / New Canoe Media

A performer and HIV advocate in Nashville, Tennessee, T.K. “Thunder Kellie” Hampton works for Street Works, an HIV services organization and a key partner of the Vanderbilt University unit of the Fred Hutch-based HIV Vaccine Trials Network. He recently appeared in a musical he wrote and directed, "YOU Shall LHiV 2 Zero," at the U.S. Conference on AIDS. 

 


Illustration by Kim Carney / Fred Hutch News Service

The yearly flu vaccine is our best bet at preventing the flu, but it doesn't work for everyone. A new collaborative study has pinpointed a signature of nine genes that can predict whether people 35 or younger will respond to the flu vaccine or not.

 


Biodegradable nanoparticles (orange) carry short-lived gene therapy to specific cells (light teal). Animation by Kimberly Carney / Fred Hutch News Service

Scientists seeking a simple and gentle way to provide short-term gene therapy have a new tool: nanoparticles. In a paper published August 30 in Nature Communications, Dr. Matthias Stephan at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center describes nanoparticles he has developed that can streamline the delivery of bundled genetic material to specific cells.

 


Photo by Robert Hood / Fred Hutch News Service

Pioneering CAR T-cell therapy researcher Dr. Carl June, director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine and a co-director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, delivered the keynote address at the Conference on Cell and Gene Therapy for HIV Cure at Fred Hutch. To his right is gene therapy and stem cell transplant specialist Dr. Hans-Peter Kiem, co-director of the Fred Hutch-based defeatHIV.


Immunology researcher Dr. Carl June gave the keynote talk today at the Conference on Cell & Gene Therapy for HIV Cure at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. June traces his lifelong fascination with T cells and their biology to his time studying bone marrow transplantation at Fred Hutch. Photo by Robert Hood / Fred Hutch News Service

University of Pennsylvania immunotherapy researcher Dr. Carl June, who led the development of an experimental therapy for advanced childhood leukemia that is expected to become the first CAR T-cell therapy to win U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval, will give the keynote talk today at the Conference on Cell & Gene Therapy for HIV Cure at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

 


From Vanderbilt HIV Vaccine Program in Nashville, TN: (left to right) community engagement coordinator Keith Richardson, administrative assistant Latifa DaSilva, and community engagement manager Vic Sorrell. Photo courtesy of Katie Jennings / New Canoe Media

As community engagement manager at the Vanderbilt HIV Vaccine Program, Sorrell gives talks like this many times. But even 36 years into the pandemic, HIV can make for a difficult conversation, one the 39-year-old Sorrell tailors to the audience and the moment, speaking from his heart and trusting he’ll strike the right chord.


Scared — and brave
June 14, 2017

Laurie Sylla, a member of the community advisory board for the Fred Hutch-based defeatHIV research group, gave a presentation at Seattle's Gay City on how people with HIV feel about taking part in cure studies. Photo by Robert Hood / Fred Hutch News Service

How do people with HIV feel about volunteering for clinical trials testing experimental cures? If their responses could be summed up in one phrase, it would be the quote that Laurie Sylla chose for the title of her recent talk on the topic:  “We’re scared … and brave.” Sylla is a member of the community advisory board for defeatHIV, based at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, one of six such research groups funded by the National Institutes of Health focused on curing the chronic viral infection.

 


Dr. Nishila Moodley, left, receives an achievement award from her mentor, Dr. Glenda Gray, before 700 members of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network in Washington, D.C. Photo courtesy of HVTN

When Dr. Nishila Moodley took the stage to receive a special achievement award, 700 scientists, clinicians, outreach specialists and community members attending the annual meeting of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network — the largest global network working to develop and test a preventive HIV vaccine — cheered her accomplishment. They also celebrated the future of HIV vaccine research in South Africa.

 


Stock photo by iStock

Laboratory manipulation of the AIDS-causing virus reveals evolutionary ‘dead-ends’. [Editor's note: We've updated this story, originally published in Jan 2017, to reflect a newly published study.] 

 


Dr Kathy Mngadi and team at the March for Science event

The Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa(CAPRISA) conducts research that is globally relevant and locally responsive, contributing to understanding HIV pathogenesis, prevention and epidemiology as well as the links between tuberculosis and AIDS care. Collaboration with the HVTN to find a safe, effective HIV vaccine is integral to this work.


Dr. Glenda Gray welcomes HIV Vaccine Trials Network members to an HVTN conference in Seattle in October 2014. Photo by Robert Hood / Fred Hutch News Service

Dr. Glenda Gray, a leader of the Fred Hutch-based HIV Vaccine Trials Network and director of its Africa programs, is included in Time magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world for her pioneering work on HIV prevention. The magazine announced the list today.


Dr. Julie Overbaugh receives congratulations on her recent Mentoring Award from Fred Hutch President and Director Dr. Gary Gilliland. Photo by Robert Hood / Fred Hutch News Service

Dr. Julie Overbaugh has long been committed to mentorship and graduate student training. These values have inspired the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center HIV researcher and Human Biology Division member over the past year as she settled into the newly created role of Hutch Associate Director for Graduate Education.


Bill Hall, a Tlingit from Southeast Alaska, serves on the community advisory board of the Fred Hutch-based defeatHIV cure research group. The Seattle Indian Health Board recently honored Hall for his leadership in HIV outreach to Native communities. Photo by Robert Hood / Fred Hutch News Service

Esther Lucero, a nationally known health advocate for urban Indians, got her start as an HIV case manager in San Francisco in the late 1980s. That was when she became aware of Native Americans and Alaska Natives in the city who were struggling with HIV/AIDS.


Dr. Keith Jerome Photo by Robert Hood / Fred Hutch News Service

A Fred Hutch and University of Washington team of virologists and bioengineers led by Dr. Keith Jerome has received a $200,000 grant — the first phase of up to $1.5 million in milestone-driven funding over four years — to develop nanocarrier technology to deliver therapies to reservoirs of dormant, HIV-infected cells.


Timothy Ray Brown celebrates his 10th "birthday," marking the anniversary of the stem cell transplant that made him the first and so far only person in the world to be cured of the virus that causes AIDS. Robert Hood / Fred Hutch News Service

A decade has passed since the first of two stem cell transplants cured Brown of both leukemia and HIV, making him the first and so far only person to be cured of the virus that causes AIDS. Sunday’s “birthday” celebration, a tradition among transplant cancer survivors, capped a day-long workshop on HIV cure research on the eve of a major HIV scientific meeting, the annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, or CROI, being held in Seattle.


(from left to right) Dr. Gero Hütter, Timothy Ray Brown, Dr. Keith Jerome and Dr. Hans-Peter Kiem during a visit to the Hutch campus in 2015. Photo by Robert Hood / Fred Hutch News Service

A decade after the first and so far only known HIV cure, researchers are hard at work to find a cure for many more.

It’s a tradition to celebrate the anniversary of a lifesaving bone marrow transplant as a rebirth. By that measure, today marks the 10th “birthday” of one of the world’s best known transplant survivors: Timothy Ray Brown.


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Dr. Larry Corey speaks at an HIV Vaccine Trials Network conference in Cape Town, South Africa, in October 2013. Photo by Robert Hood / Fred Hutch News Service

Today the founder and leader of the world’s largest HIV vaccine network, Corey will deliver a plenary talk on the state of HIV vaccine development at next month’s AIDS 2016 conference, the biannual meeting of the International AIDS Society, in Durban, South Africa. In August, he will be the keynote speaker at the third Conference on Cell and Gene Therapy for HIV cure at Fred Hutch about an even more challenging goal: an HIV cure.


NIAID and its partners have decided to advance an experimental HIV vaccine regimen into a large clinical trial, called HVTN 702.


Dr. Larry Corey, virologist and Fred Hutch president and director emeritus, and Dr. David Baltimore, president emeritus of the California Institute of Technology - Caltech, wrote in a guest post for Forbes about their pursuit of an HIV vaccine.


Getting malaria on purpose
April 25, 2016 

Volunteer Molly Perry receives an injection of sporozoites — the infectious form of the malaria parasite — from Dr. Jim Kublin at the Fred Hutch-based Seattle Malaria Clinical Trials Center. Photo by Robert Hood

Volunteers roll up their sleeves and get infected to test an experimental drug.


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HVTN and HPTN Announce Initiation of Antibody Mediated Prevention (AMP) Study

April 7, 2016

First Study to Evaluate Efficacy of Broadly Neutralizing Monoclonal Antibody in Reducing Acquisition of HIV-1 Infection Among At Risk Populations


Rod Fichter, who tested positive for HIV in 1986 but is able to control the virus without medication, was featured in the HBO VICE Special Report, "Countdown to Zero." Photo by Robert Hood / Fred Hutch News Service

Meet five ‘HIV controllers,’ some positive for decades, who may hold clues to ending AIDS.


Photo: Getty Images

“A lot of the myths that are still out there are the ones that were there in the 1980s,” says James Kublin, MD, the executive director of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN), based at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. Here are seven things you should know about HIV.


Actor Charlie Sheen Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty

Fred Hutch's Dr. Jim Kublin, executive director of HIV Vaccine Trials Network, told MSNBC that Sheen could have carried the virus up to 10 years before it was detected.